Australian lawmakers send back crypto bill by Andrew Bragg

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Australia’s Senate Committee on Economics Legislation has finally provided feedback to the cryptocurrency bill introduced by senator Andrew Bragg.

The committee on Sept. 4 reported on the draft bill referred to as “The Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023,” asking the bill authors to add some amendments.

The Senate particularly concluded that it would pass the bill with minor amendments such as removing the term nonfungible tokens (NFTs) from the definition of regulated digital assets.

Among other recommendations, the lawmakers asked the bill authors to exclude certain asset-based tokens — such as the Gold and Silver Standard and the BetaCarbon Token — from the definition of stablecoin. The Senate also asked to extend the transition period from three to nine months.

In the report, the Senate also urged the Board of Taxation to review the tax treatment of digital assets and transactions in Australia with a target to introduce legislation in early 2024.

The government should implement in full the recommendations of the Council of Financial Regulators for potential policy responses to debanking in Australia, the lawmakers added. The Australian Department of the Treasury previously admitted that the growing trend of banks cutting services to cryptocurrency firms could lead to unwanted consequences like driving the industry underground.

Related: Binance Australia GM ‘really confident’ regulators will side with crypto

“The committee inquiry has demonstrated that the government’s approach to digital asset regulation is hurting Australian consumers and investment,” the document reads. According to the Senate, the bill by senator Bragg is the “first serious step towards implementing a comprehensive digital asset regulatory framework,” adding:

“The government has junked the ambitious crypto agenda of the former liberal government, and Australians will pay the price.”

Senator Bragg introduced the “Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023” in March, aiming to “protect consumers and promote investors.” The draft bill provides regulatory recommendations for stablecoins, licensing of exchanges and custody requirements.

The latest report by the Senate Committee came a while after it was originally expected. The committee initially planned to provide a report on the bill by Aug. 2, but sought an extension of the reporting date to Aug. 16. The deadline was subsequently extended to Aug. 25 and then to Sept. 4.

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