Australia announced Monday that it will conduct a virtual inventory of its cryptocurrency holdings. This was the first indication from the centre-left government about its plans to regulate the $1 trillion sector.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers stated that his department would conduct “token mapping”, which is a cataloging of the types and uses digital currency within the country. This will be the first step in identifying which cryptocurrency assets and how to regulate them.
He stated that Australia would be the first country to undertake such an exercise.
Chalmers stated that “with the increasing proliferation of crypto assets to the point where crypto advertisements can be seen all over major sporting events, it is important to ensure customers engaging in crypto are adequately informed, protected”
Australia has struggled for years to find a way to regulate cryptocurrency, which is money that is controlled by decentralised computer networks and not central banks.
Since 2020, when COVID-19’s stimulus payments and home work triggered a boom in popularity, intervention calls have increased.
A Senate inquiry conducted by the conservative government last year recommended broad-based regulations to protect cryptocurrency owners. However, that administration lost an election in May, before any new laws could be put into place.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission also stated that it supports regulation of the sector, citing research that showed 44% of retail investors had cryptocurrency by late 2021.
Chalmers, treasurer, didn’t specify any regulations planned Monday but stated that the token mapping exercise would “be the first step in a Reform Agenda”.