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Ultimate Resource On Australia’s Involvement With Bitcoin

Australian Bitcoin-focused data center business Iris Energy has doubled a fundraising round to A$40 million ($31 million) ahead of a planned initial public offering. Ultimate Resource On Australia’s Involvement With Bitcoin

Ultimate Resource On Australia's Involvement With Bitcoin

Iris expanded the offering on Wednesday following a A$13 million commitment from Platinum Asset Management, according to a letter to investors obtained by Bloomberg News. The firm had originally set a A$20 million target for its second pre-IPO fundraising. The company is planning its first-time share sale in the middle of this year.

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Separately, the company told investors that Jason Conroy, chief financial officer of energy utility Transgrid, was set to become Iris’ new chief executive officer. He will be joined by David Bartholomew, who will be the company’s independent chair. The two previously worked together for close to a decade at Australian gas pipelines company DUET Group.

Proceeds from the fundraising will be used to build a 50 megawatt data center in British Columbia, Canada, adding to an already-funded 30 megawatt project.

An external representative for the company declined to comment.

Updated: 9-7-2021

Australian Crypto And Remittance Businesses Face ‘Debanking,’ Senate Committee Hears

Australian banks stand accused of engaging in “anti-competitive” behavior by denying their services to local crypto businesses.

An Australian Senate Committee has heard several cases of financial institutions denying or terminating banking services to local cryptocurrency and remittance businesses.

In the Senate Select Committee on “Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre” held Wednesday, two crypto exchanges, Aus Merchant and Bitcoin Babe, testified to their repeated denial of services, often with no explanation given by the institutions that denied them.

The purpose of the committee is to review the federal policy framework around cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the country, among broader issues within the fintech industry.

Michael Minassian, regional head of global payments firm Nium, testified that Australia was the only country of 41 others to have denied banking for Nium’s remittance services.

Bitcoin Babe founder Michaela Juric told the committee her banking services had been terminated 91 times over the course of her small business’ seven-year history.

The committee also heard that Juric and family members had been denied personal banking services, which impacted their ability to establish basic utilities such as an internet service, water and electricity, as well as self-managed retirement funds and insurance.

Anti-competitive Behavior

Juric said little to no reason had been given for the “debanking” and that banks were being “anti-competitive” because they “didn’t like that there was this competition coming through that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies posed.”

In her submission to the committee, Juric said there was “no opportunity for discussion” over her losing services from some of the country’s largest banks including Commonwealth (CBA), Westpac and Bank of Queensland.

Losing services from CBA was “particularly hurtful” to Juric, according to her submission to the committee. Juric said she was also personally debanked from all CBA accounts, which included an account Juric had held since five years old. Juric claims she is no longer able to access any bank account records or open an account with CBA.

Aus Merchant’s managing director, Mitchell Travers, provided evidence to the committee showing he had lost banking services on four occasions.

“As far as I am aware, it was a risk-avoidance, risk-off attitude,” Travers said. “The reasoning was that we were outside the scope of services for these banks and we weren’t given an opportunity to provide enhanced due diligence procedures.”

Sen. Andrew Bragg asked Travers if he thought the banks considered his company’s registration by the country’s financial watchdog Austrac to be worthless.

“Yes, that’s correct,” said Travers. Juric also said her Austrac registration was never brought up by the banks.

It’s troubling to hear about the personal impact of de-banking on people trying to set up a small business. The banks have said the driver of de-banking is the lack of a regulatory framework for digital assets. That’s what we must fix and we will hold the banks to that.
— Senator Andrew Bragg (@ajamesbragg) September 8, 2021

Bragg said the banks had told him the reason for debanking crypto businesses was due to a “lack or low level of regulation” within the industry and asked whether increasing regulation for crypto markets would make the banks more willing to work with crypto firms.

“Sure, that’s a possibility,” said Juric. However, she also warned of the potential for big banks to threaten small crypto businesses and put them out of business.

Travers Agreed: “Increased regulation on the custody side is very important.”

 

Updated: 9-8-2021

Afterpay Tells Senate Inquiry Crypto Could Slash Merchant Payment Costs

Afterpay told the Australian Senate that using crypto could cut payments costs for merchants and that the government should work to create a framework for an AUD-backed stablecoin.

Australian buy now pay later (BNPL) firm Afterpay believes that local merchants can slash payment costs by utilizing cryptocurrencies.

In a submission to the Senate inquiry into “Australia as a Technology and Financial Center,” Afterpay stated that the use of blockchain-based transactions could cut the fees associated with traditional payment methods, including card issuer, network operator and banking fees:

“Merchants stand to benefit considerably from the cryptocurrency model, as card network fees are entirely removed from the equation and the customer/payer bears the transaction costs.”

Under the crypto model, the customer would front the cost of validating the payment on the blockchain. This could either be relatively cheap or costly depending on what cryptocurrency and blockchain the transaction is conducted with or how congested a network is at any given time.

If such a scenario were to play out, Afterpay stated that transaction fees would be transparent, and customers would be granted the choice to “wait for more favorable network conditions and a lower cost” before making transactions.

The inquiry is investigating a broad range of factors related to financial technology, such as the economic and employment opportunities posed by crypto and blockchain tech, barriers to the uptake of new technologies, and the impact of corporate law “restraining new investment” in Australia. Afterpay will be speaking before the Senate committee later on Wednesday.

While BNPL competitor Zip has outlined plans to offer crypto trading services for its Australian and United States-based customers, Afterpay is yet to reveal any plans to work with digital assets. However, crypto-friendly payments firm Square acquired Afterpay in a $29-billion stock deal announced on Aug. 1, which could see the firm enter the space in the future.

In its submission to the Senate, Afterpay noted that it “does not currently offer crypto-related products” but is actively “considering” how innovative fintech features could function as a part of the alternative financial platform.

Stablecoins Down Under

On the topic of stablecoins, Afterpay emphasized that the Australian government should work with the crypto sector to consider what “framework an optimal environment for an AUD-backed stablecoin should look like.”

According to Afterpay, the objective should be to provide stablecoin users with protections concerning the asset but regulate it in a way that doesn’t stifle fintech innovation in Australia.

“This includes considering if regulatory instruments are required for stablecoin issuers to have transparent and adequate prudential reserve holdings, consumer-focused data protections and fair and appealable processes in place regarding account blacklisting,” it said.

Updated: 9-9-2021

Afterpay ‘Absolutely’ Keen To Explore Crypto Services After Regulations Clarified

Afterpay spoke as part of the Senate inquiry into “Australia as a Technology and Financial Center” and Lee Hatton said there would be enough consumer demand to offer crypto services.

Australian buy now pay later (BNPL) giant Afterpay — now part of Jack Dorsey’s Square — has said that it is likely to pursue cryptocurrency services once the regulatory framework is clear.

Following Afterpay’s submission to the Senate inquiry into “Australia as a Technology and Financial Center,” which posited that merchants could slash payment costs by utilizing cryptocurrencies, representatives spoke to the inquiry on Sept. 8.

Afterpay’s vice president for public policy and communications Damian Kassabgi said that “this idea of being able to exchange currencies from person to person or to a merchant without going through the traditional rails could create a lot of efficiencies.”

Crypto-friendly Liberal senator Andrew Bragg asked if Afterpay had plans to offer crypto services in the future. Lee Hatton, the executive vice president at Afterpay, responded that once the regulatory path was clear, the firm would be likely to meet its customers’ demand for crypto services:

“Once we’re able to understand the regulatory framework in this space, we can absolutely see where our customers are going. And it would seem to us that they are going to want to participate in this way.”

“We will absolutely see a part of our customers starting to leverage [Bitcoin] and we would absolutely be looking for a way to support them to do that,” she added.

The regulatory landscape of crypto in Australia remains unclear as the government is yet to put a detailed framework in place. Bragg urged the government back in May to “stay ahead of the game” by introducing regulations to protect consumers and foster innovation.

The discussion moved on to stablecoins, with Kassabgi emphasizing the significance of using an Australian dollar (AUD) backed stablecoin for payments between consumers and merchants.

“It is not hard to imagine a world where a privately issued stablecoin that is pegged to the Australian dollar, one that passes from consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-merchant with very little friction where the traditional payment rails are not used, where interchange fees are close to non-existent, and where there is no commercial bank as an intermediary,” he said.

“There are many benefits to this future outlook. However, there is work to be done to create a safe and efficient regulatory environment,” he added.

Australian Crypto Businesses Tell Senate Inquiry About Being De-Banked Up To 91 Times

Speaking on a panel as part of the Senate inquiry into “Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre,” three crypto firms outlined their de-banking experience in Australia.

Crypto-related companies and figures have provided evidence about being de-banked by Australian financial institutions to a Senate inquiry.

Crypto investment firm Aus Merchant, global remittance provider Nium and small peer-to-peer crypto brokerage platform Bitcoin Babe were speaking on a panel as part of the Senate inquiry into “Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre” on Wednesday.

All three are registered with financial intelligence regulator AUSTRAC and are subject to reporting requirements; however, they all echoed similar sentiments of being de-banked without a concrete explanation as to why.

Michaela Juric, the founder of the peer-to-peer trading business dubbed after her nickname “Bitcoin Babe,” stated that she has been banned by a total of 91 banks and financial institutions throughout her seven-year history in crypto:

“As of yesterday, I have been banned and de-banked from 91 banks and financial institutions. That’s 91-lifetime bans. No reasons given, no case-by-case assessments or discussions engaged and no recourse available.”

Bitcoin Babe utilizes exchanges such as Local Bitcoins to conduct trades in Australia, and according to her profile on the website, she has conducted more than 40,000 trades since 2014 with a feedback score of 98%.

Despite holding a good reputation online, Juric told crypto-friendly Senator Andrew Bragg that some banks have even flagged her as a terrorist due to the nature of her business:

“I’ve had banks go as far as report me as being like a terrorist on some databases, and that’s what stopped me from being able to get some of these services.”

Singapore-headquartered Nium is licensed in 40 markets across the globe; however, the firm stated that Australia is the only country where it has had issues with financial service providers.

Michael Minassian, Asia-Pacific head of consumer business at Nium, stated the firm feels that there are some “uncompetitive practices” that are being conducted with de-banking, as he questioned the “opaque” reasons that banks have offered when cutting services to the company:

“They’re very vague as to why they are ceasing to provide banking services to you. I’ve had some bankers provide me with verbal reasons as the policy shifts within the bank etc, but essentially industries like remittance become too hard for the banks.”

“It’s costly for them to try and establish frameworks that they can allow banking, so it’s just easier for them to to to cease providing services,” he added.

Mitchell Travers, a co-founder of New South Wales-based crypto investment platform Aus Merchant, stated that with what little reasoning was provided behind de-banking the platform, it was due to “risk avoidance” from banks.

“As far as I’m aware, it was a risk avoidance, risk-off attitude where the reasoning was that we were outside of the scope of services for these banks, and we werent given an opportunity to provide enhanced due diligence procedures,” he said.

Senator Bragg responded by stating, “Okay, I see your registration with AUSTRAC is worthless to a bank, it sounds like.”

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) provided a submission to the inquiry explaining its practices and stated that it operates “commensurate systems and controls to mitigate and manage” Anti-Money Laundering and terror financing risk.

“In circumstances where a customer’s source of funds and source of wealth is unable to be determined, or their account activity is not in accordance with known business activities, the group takes appropriate steps to mitigate and manage its ML/TF risk,” The CBA said in its submission.

Updated: 9-14-2021

Australian Crypto Exchange Head Welcomes Industry Regulation

Australia risks being left behind if regulation of the local cryptocurrency industry doesn’t support innovation, according to the head of the nation’s largest digital asset exchange.

It would be a “real shame for Australia if we don’t take this bull by the horns,” BTC Markets Chief Executive Officer Caroline Bowler said in a Bloomberg Television interview Wednesday.

Australia would benefit from a “progressive framework of regulation,” she said, and praised the approach in the European Union, which has moved to “regulate innovation in, rather than innovation out.” Bowler also welcomed the approach of regulators in Singapore for embracing the crypto industry.

She contrasted the EU’s stance with that of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Since taking over as SEC chief in April, Gary Gensler has taken a hard line on crypto exchanges and said Tuesday there are only a “small number” of digital assets that don’t need to be registered with the commission.

“There is a concern naturally that regulation can become overbearing,” Bowler said. But citing a BTC Markets survey, she said investors note a lack of regulation in the Australian market. Financial advisers should be allowed to give advice on crypto assets to help investors navigate volatility in the market, Bowler said.

Regulation of the industry is welcome, said Bowler, and there is a “certain sense of optimism” around a report on the issue due to be presented in October by a parliamentary committee.

Zip Eyes Millennials With Planned Launch Of Crypto Trading In The US Next Year

Aussie “buy now, pay later” fintech found that BNPL users are 67% more likely to trade crypto than non-users.

Australian “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) firm Zip​​, the smaller rival to Square’s recently-acquired Afterpay, is hitching its future growth prospects to the cryptocurrency industry.

Zip USA CEO Brad Lindenberg told attendees at the company’s first retail investor day that “The innovation around crypto feels like the internet did in 1995.”

The company’s interest in crypto has been hinted at previously and has now materialized into a concrete plan: A project that integrates crypto trading functionality for United States users and enables its merchants to accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments.

Zip’s internal research, which found that BNPL users are 67% more likely to trade crypto than non-users, has bolstered its confidence in the move. Lindenberg, moreover, pitched crypto integration as a natural next step for a company seeking to cater to what he dubbed the “Millennial finance diet.”

Zip’s co-founder Peter Gray had told reporters earlier this summer that support for crypto trading and providing a digital wallet were among the top requests from Zip users, hinting that the firm understands its “younger generation of customers” and would roll out products and services targeted at them.

Alongside crypto trading functionality and merchant support for BTC payments, Zip also plans to launch a “BitcoinBack” feature in 2022 to allow its customers to convert cash rewards into BTC. All these offerings are slated for the U.S. launch in 2022, but will eventually expand to a total of 12 global markets, including Zip’s home turf in Australia, over the next 12–18 months.

As reported just last week, AfterPay, itself, has signaled it is likely to pursue crypto services once the regulatory framework in Australia is more transparent. The BNPL pioneer advised a Senate inquiry into “Australia as a Technology and Financial Center” that merchants could slash payment costs by using crypto and that sidestepping traditional rails could create significant efficiencies.

Updated: 9-16-2021

There’s A Bitcoin Boom Among Baby Boomers, Reports BTC Markets

Crypto asset investing has become more popular with Aussie boomers, according to the country’s largest exchange.

Australian cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets has observed a significant uptick in older clients using its platform over the past financial year.

More older Australians are viewing crypto assets as viable investments, according to data provided by one of the country’s oldest and largest exchanges. In its annual “Investor Report,” BTC Markets, which started in 2013, reported a 15% increase in the number of investors over 65. The report also indicates that they are the group making the largest deposits.

Baby Boomers, which are classified as those born between 1946 and 1964, now compose 5% of the platform’s estimated 325,000 customer base.

BTC Markets CEO Caroline Bowler proclaimed that “young male traders have relinquished their monopoly on crypto,” as the boomer growth figure was the second-highest after the 18 to 24 age range.

More than a quarter of the exchange’s customers are investors over the age of 44, and they have more money to invest. The platform reported that the over-65 demographic had the highest average initial deposit of $3,200 and an average crypto portfolio size of $3,700.

Bowler added that low-interest rates are a key factor behind boomers looking toward alternative investments, such as crypto assets, before adding:

“These Baby Boomers are often at a time in their lives when they have accumulated significant wealth and assets and have many years of experience investing in financial markets. They are not worried about allocating a small percentage of their portfolios to cryptocurrencies.”

Younger traders in the Generation Z category aged 18 to 24 had far smaller initial deposits and portfolios, around a quarter of their senior counterparts.

The exchange surveyed 1,800 clients to ascertain their motives for investing in crypto. It discovered that 34% of those surveyed were seeking early retirement, 28% portfolio diversification, and 23% fear of missing out (FOMO).

Speaking to Bloomberg Crypto on Wednesday, Bowler said that the firm has been looking at the Singaporean model of embracing the community as well as the regulatory challenges for the crypto industry.

She said that 28% of Australians said that one of the biggest challenges they face is the lack of regulation locally. This has a knock-on effect since financial advisors are not allowed to advise on crypto asset investing, which would help investors mitigate risk.

France Calls U.S.-Australia Submarine Deal A Betrayal

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calls U.S. move to step in a ‘stab in the back’.

France said it had been betrayed by the U.S. after being pushed out of a multibillion-dollar deal to supply submarines to Australia, in a public rupture between NATO allies that is shaping up to be among the most bitter trans-Atlantic disputes of the Biden administration’s first year.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday called the U.S.-backed deal a “stab in the back.” President Biden on Wednesday announced a new security pact with Australia and the U.K. that would include a long-term agreement to build nuclear submarines for Australia. Australia on Thursday confirmed it was withdrawing from the French contract.

“This brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision reminds me a lot of what Mr. Trump used to do,” Mr. Le Drian said. “I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies.”

France was so infuriated that it canceled a gala scheduled for Friday evening at its embassy in Washington and on a French ship in Baltimore to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Battle of the Capes, when the French navy, fighting on the side of American revolutionary forces, defeated the British navy in Chesapeake Bay.

Chinese officials reacted with alarm to the prospect of a military power in the region equipped with nuclear submarines. Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated in recent years amid a flurry of economic and political disputes.

“The nuclear submarine cooperation between the U.S., the U.K. and Australia has seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international nonproliferation efforts,” said Zhao Lijun, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry.

The global fallout from the U.S.-led submarine pact underscores how Western powers are jockeying for influence in Asia-Pacific, both against each other and their common antagonist China.

The U.S. and France, two of the world’s largest weapons exporters, secure lucrative military contracts through their security partnerships in the region. The new pact signals that Washington refused to take a back seat to France in arming Australia, long one of the closest U.S. allies.

The trans-Atlantic fight stands out from Mr. Biden’s first months in office, when he worked to dial down tensions with the European Union on issues ranging from trade to climate change where the bloc had clashed with President Trump.

It comes just weeks after European capitals criticized Mr. Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which left hundreds of Europeans and their Afghan allies stuck in Kabul.

News of the ruptured contract landed as the EU laid out its plans to deepen its influence in Asia, including a beefed-up security and naval presence designed to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

The new strategy aims to respond to China’s growing assertiveness in the region by working with democratic partners like the U.S., Japan, India and Australia.

In addition to seeking an enhanced naval presence in Asia, the EU is planning to pump new funds into regional projects to provide alternatives to China’s Belt and Road initiative.

As the EU’s premier naval power, France is key to the new strategy. On Thursday, Mr. Le Drian said France’s plans to build a coalition in the region against China, including India and Australia, were shaken by the decision to step away from the contract.

“We established a relation of confidence with Australia. This confidence is betrayed,” he said.

In losing the contract, France ran up against decades of particularly close security cooperation between the U.S., Australia and the U.K. The governments share intelligence under an agreement called Five Eyes that doesn’t include France.

Until now, the U.S. has only shared its nuclear submarine technology with the U.K. Britain deployed its first nuclear submarine 60 years ago and has advanced technological expertise it can bring to the partnership. A U.K. government spokesman said the submarine deal would result in tens of billions of pounds of new investment across the country. Such deals have become far more important for the U.K. since it left the EU last year.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the deal wouldn’t weaken its ties with France.

“Our relationship with France, our military relationship with France is…rock solid,” Mr. Johnson said.

The Australian submarine deal, dubbed the “contract of the century” in French media, was signed in 2016 and worth tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades. The contract called for France to build nonnuclear submarines for Australia and transfer some of that technology. Australian engineers were already working in the shipyards of Cherbourg in the north of France.

Australia began to have second thoughts about the contract in recent months. Nuclear submarines can run for decades without refueling, giving them a much longer range than conventional submarines, which are powered by diesel.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had raised concerns with French President Emmanuel Macron at a dinner in June about whether conventional submarines would be able to address heightened security tensions in the Asia-Pacific region and China’s more assertive military posture. French and Australian foreign and defense ministers met two weeks ago and reaffirmed their defense ties and cooperation.

‘The decision … is not a change of mind, it’s a change of need.”
— Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

When Australia selected French military shipbuilder DCNS Group in 2016, building and operating a nuclear-powered submarine wasn’t an option, Mr. Morrison said.

“The decision we have made to not continue with the Attack class submarine and to go down this path is not a change of mind, it’s a change of need,” said Mr. Morrison.

Beijing describes actions that are increasingly troubling to the U.S. and other countries as normal defense of its own territorial integrity. China has boosted investments in its military technology with weaponry like new submarines and set territorial policies like an air exclusion zone that requires foreign aircraft to identify themselves.

Since the Biden administration came into office, the EU and the U.S. have moved to strengthen coordination on the challenges China poses, developing a top-level Transatlantic Dialogue on China and setting up a trade and technology council to help Europe and the U.S. better compete with China in developing and protecting critical and emerging technologies.

French Fume At U.S. For Cutting Them Out Of Submarine Deal

France’s top diplomat unleashed a stream of invective against President Joe Biden after the U.S. and the U.K. announced a new security alliance for the Pacific region that will cost the French defense industry some A$90 billion ($65.7 billion).

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info Thursday that he felt “stabbed in the back” over the “unacceptable” deal that will hurt French business and shuts the French military out of a key initiative in Western efforts to build a bulwark against China.

“This unilateral, brutal, unforeseeable decision really looks like what Mr. Trump was doing,” Le Drian said. “This move is unacceptable between allies who want to develop a structured Indo-Pacific partnership.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would discuss the situation in the Indo-Pacific with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a dinner Thursday in Paris.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the U.S. cooperates with France and shares a range of priorities in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We value our relationship and our partnership with France on a variety of issues facing the global community, whether it’s economic growth, or whether it’s the fight against COVID, or addressing security throughout the world,” Psaki said.

It’s up to Australia to describe “why they pursued this technology from the United States,” she said.

French officials were blindsided on Wednesday night when the U.S. and the U.K. announced a new security partnership to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, beefing up their ability to deploy in China’s backyard. That agreement scuppered a 2016 deal that Australia sealed with France to acquire 12 diesel-powered subs from shipbuilder Naval Group.

The snub is a personal blow for Macron, who hosted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Elysee palace in June and vaunted their friendship at the Group of Seven meeting in the U.K. the same month. Le Drian had described the French-Australian submarine contract as the deal of the century.

Le Drian said he’ll be seeking explanations from the Australians over how they plan to exit their contractual obligations to Naval Group, though he didn’t explicitly call for financial compensation.

It also exposes the gulf between Paris and Washington since Biden took office. Macron has criticized the manner of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and questioned the efficiency of Biden’s suggestion of a patent waiver for Covid vaccines.

Le Drian said on Wednesday night that the submarine alliance highlights the need for the European Union to pursue its own “strategic autonomy,” meaning a capability to act independently of the U.S.

Macron, speaking to reporters alongside Merkel, said they’d discuss areas “that call for European coherence, our working together and the defense of true European autonomy,” including in the Indo-Pacific region.

‘Natural Partners’

The snub for France coincides with a European effort to cast the EU and Indo-Pacific countries as “natural partners,” according to a European Commission strategy paper adopted Thursday. Among the goals is completing trade talks with Australia.

France is the only European nation with a significant military presence in the region and it also has an overseas territory, New Caledonia, east of Australia.

Le Drian said that Naval Group, which is mostly state-owned, had met its commitments under the Australian contract. Thales SA, another state-owned company which has a stake in Naval Group and was due to supply defense systems for the submarines, said its financial forecasts wouldn’t be impacted by the breakup. A person familiar with the matter said no job cuts are expected for Naval Group as a result of the decision.

Updated: 9-25-2021

Average Aussie Crypto Portfolio Grew 258% In FY 20–21, Survey Reveals

Older Australian crypto investors outweigh the new generation in initial investment, but the younger crowd is more active in daily trading.

The average portfolio size on Australian cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets has grown from $577.65 (795.5 AUD) to $2,069.16 (2849.5 AUD) in the financial year 2021, signaling a 258.2% increase in portfolio holdings, according to exchange data compiled by Statista on a recent BTC Markets survey.

Data on the survey shows that the average portfolio size of female and male investors in fiscal 20–21 on BTC Markets was $1,924.30 (2,650 AUD) and $2,214.03 (3,049 AUD), respectively. However, in 2020, the average portfolio size of female Aussie investors exceeded male investors slightly.

Transaction data on the exchange also showed a pattern of investment demand increasing with aging. Considering the data provided by BTC Market on Australia’s average initial investment, investors above 65 years old have invested roughly $3,158.03, the highest of all demographics.

Following an incremental reduction across the various age groups, the youngest cryptocurrency traders, ranging from 18 to 24 years, tend to make comparatively small investments, standing at $792.96 on average. While older Australian crypto investors outweigh the new generation in initial investment, the younger crowd shows comparatively more activity in terms of daily trades.

Resonating the findings above, a September report from financial comparison website Finder shows that one in six Australians own cryptocurrencies, amounting to $8 billion in total investment. The report suggests that, like many other users in advanced industrialized countries, Australians are increasingly viewing cryptocurrencies as a new asset class.

According to Cointelegraph’s report on the matter, Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular cryptocurrency for the Australian crypto market and is held by 9% of investors. Other popular investments include Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

The report showed that, despite the growth in crypto investments, a significant barrier to entry for Australians is the difficulty in understanding crypto and the risks related to volatility.

Updated: 9-30-2021

An Unapologetic Old Boys’ Network Is Costing Australia Billions

Gender inequality is even starker in Australia than in the U.S. or U.K. The price paid — by individuals and the economy — is significant.

It’s the Australian Paradox. In terms of women’s educational attainment, no country does better, according to the World Economic Forum. But when it comes to women’s participation in the economy, this nation of 26 million ranks 70th on the WEF’s list — behind Kazakhstan, Serbia and Zimbabwe. As recently as 2006 it sat at no. 12.

Political and economic life here is dominated by men to an even greater degree than in the United States, the United Kingdom or Canada — Australia’s cultural kin. And Down Under, as elsewhere, the pandemic is making inequality of all kinds even worse.

Four years after #MeToo shook American power centers from Wall Street to Hollywood, Australia is trying to play catch-up. In September, the government formally adopted six recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commission aimed at reducing workplace harassment. Equality advocates wanted 55.

The price of inaction — nationally, as well as for individuals — is significant: Sexual harassment is costing the economy an estimated $2.75 billion a year.

The numbers from corporate Australia over the past year are equally sobering. Only one of the 23 new chief executive officers appointed to a major company was a woman. Among the top 200 businesses, the number of woman CEOs has fallen to 10, down from 14 in 2018.

That compares with 33 in the U.S., or around 6% — a slightly higher level of representation than in Australia, according to Bloomberg calculations. The gender pay gap rose almost 1 percentage point to 31.3% when taking into account total full- and part-time salaries and overtime. In the U.S., where the gap is calculated differently, it stayed steady at 16%.

At the cultural core of gender inequality in Australia is “mateship,” a concept that traces its history back to the country’s penal colony roots and through its participation in various far-flung wars.

The term connotes a sense of shared sacrifice, duty and loyalty — and largely applies only to men operating in a man’s world. While the U.S. has bro culture and Britain has its lads, mateship is singularly antipodean and applies predominantly to men — that is, those who tend to hold the power.

“It has no translation into a feminine view of the world,” said Sam Mostyn, president of women’s leadership advocacy group Chief Executive Women.

Privately, and occasionally publicly, Australian executives concede that women’s careers are blunted by mateship and the exclusionary culture it fosters. Some executives have used the pandemic as an excuse to avoid promoting women to top roles, says Mostyn, who also serves on the board of Citigroup locally and of toll road company Transurban Group. She says they argue that women present a “risk” in uncertain times.

“Australia has a cultural problem with women in leadership,” Mostyn said. “There is a lack of respect for women at work, there is a very high tenor of safety issues for women in their homes, and Australia hasn’t taken advantage of the advances made in women’s education.”

While 54% of all finance workers are female, more than two-thirds of the sector’s key management executives — and 90% of its CEOs — are men. (Shemara Wikramanayake, who turned Macquarie Group Ltd.’s asset management business into its most profitable unit before taking the top job in 2018, is the exception who proves the rule.)

The earnings gap in the financial services industry was 24.1% as of May, second only to professional and technical services.

At investment banks, the lack of senior women in client-facing roles is so dire that corporate and government clients are starting to push back.

When some of the biggest banks presented to the government of Victoria state for a mandate to help sell its $1.3 billion motor registry unit earlier this year, they were told they would be assessed not only on diversity within their deal teams but also firm-wide policies and initiatives addressing gender equality, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Morgan Stanley won the mandate. A Victorian government spokesperson said that all public sector suppliers must demonstrate progress on gender equality in the workplace and the community following the implementation of new state regulations earlier this year.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was in the crosshairs earlier this year after sending an all-male team to pitch a deal to Telstra Corp., Australia’s biggest telecommunications company. At the time, Telstra complained that no women were included. A spokesperson for Goldman declined to comment on the incident.

“Definitely the large majority of the investment-banking teams that I have dealt with have been pretty much all male, or male by a large majority,” said Vicki Brady, chief financial officer of Telstra.

“But in the last few months we have made it very clear to the investment banks that one of our requirements is to see how they bring to us diverse teams to bring us the best advice. The more the diverse the team, the better the advice.”

Telstra, Australia’s 10th biggest listed company, is stepping up its own efforts as investors sharpen their focus on environmental, social and governance issues. About 30% of the executive leadership team is currently made up of women and the telco has promised all new recruits will be hired from a gender-balanced pool.

BHP Group Plc, the world’s biggest miner, property group Stockland and Sydney Airport are among companies that have not only set ambitious gender diversity goals but have made progress in the past year, with women making up at least half of their executive leadership teams.

Perhaps because they face more scrutiny, large companies tend to have better representation and more aggressive goals for improvement. Most of the country’s top 100 companies have set some kind of goal for increasing female representation, and only 25% have no target. In the top 300, some 43% haven’t set a target.

Security software firm Nuix Ltd., which made its debut on the stock market in December, is one of them: Just 11% of its executive leadership team is female. A Nuix spokesperson said the company wants to promote more women and has a dedicated awareness-raising group inside the business. It’s also aiming to lift the proportion of women on its board to 30% from the current level of 20%.

Optimists had hoped for more in 2021. First Grace Tame, an activist and sexual assault survivor, was named Australian of the Year. Then thousands of Australians marched for change after Brittany Higgins, a former legislative aide in Parliament, accused a senior colleague of raping her in the defense minister’s office.

But for many people, Prime Minister Scott Morrison inadvertently embodied the country’s sexism problem when he said publicly that he hadn’t understood the seriousness of Higgins’ claims until his wife asked him to imagine the victim was one of his daughters.

Persistent Inequality

The second nation in the world to grant women the vote and the first to let them stand for parliament, Australia now lags not only cultural peers like the U.S. but wealthy nations more broadly, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Rae Frances, professor of history at the Australian National University and dean of its College of Arts and Social Sciences, points to an obvious reason for the country’s women problem: “A very strong old boys’ network.”

She says that in addition to Australia’s historical commitment to traditional nuclear families, the prevalence of single-sex schools has fostered sexist and exclusionary attitudes that carry over into industries likes finance and law. Some 16% of Australian students attend single-sex schools, compared to 7.5% in the U.K. and just 2.8% in the U.S.

The persistence of those exclusionary attitudes was laid bare earlier this year by the Australian Club — the oldest gentlemen’s club in the southern hemisphere, with a membership that reads like a Who’s Who of the Australian elite. In June, members voted overwhelmingly to maintain the 183-year-old ban on letting women join the club.

Some of the men expressed concern that they might be seduced out of their marriages by new female members or that they would no longer be able to behave in a “boorish” way if women were allowed into the space. A representative for the Australian Club declined to comment.

“That’s about elites and a certain section of the elites,” Frances said.

Meanwhile more than half of Australian workers are employed in industries that predominantly employ one gender, such as mining or nursing. That dynamic has remained stubbornly persistent over the past 20 years, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

And because wages tend to be higher in male-dominated industries than ones that employ a lot of women, the pay gap hasn’t changed much either. It hardly helps that men hold almost two-thirds of all full-time jobs.

Bridging the difference between male and female employment rates alone could provide an 8% boost — $114 billion a year — to the Australian economy, according to 2019 estimates from Goldman Sachs.

Mary Wooldridge, director of the government agency set up almost a decade ago to improve gender equality in the workplace, said discrimination remains the biggest issue for professional women.

Career breaks to have and take care of children affect the pay gap, too. Even though Australia, unlike the U.S., has mandated parental leave policies, the cost of child care is relatively high and few men take up flexible working options.

Of course women aren’t the only ones facing prejudice. One in two Indigenous Australians experienced discrimination or harassment in the workplace in the previous 12 months, according to a 2020 study by the Diversity Council of Australia — twice the rate of non-Indigenous workers. Disabled employees and LGBTQI staff also faced significantly higher rates of harassment than their colleagues.

On the gender front at least, change seems to be coming, albeit slowly. The Australian Human Rights Commission concluded — unsurprisingly — that sexual harassment tends to be worse in male-dominated industries. BHP in August said it had fired 48 workers at remote mining sites in Western Australia since July 2019 over instances of harassment.

For its part, Rio Tinto reported 29 instances. And in the same month all-male boards disappeared from the nation’s top 200 companies for the first time.

Kate Jenkins, Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner and architect of the human rights commission report that found one in three people experienced sexual harassment at work, says the nation has finally reached a turning point.

“Up until the last few years, the general view by many leaders has been that this isn’t a big problem, that this is a thing of the past or that it doesn’t cause harm or cost,” Jenkins said in an interview.

“The attitude has changed with the realization that this isn’t just a few bad blokes, this is systemic risk that industries need to manage.”

 

Updated: 10-15-2021

ANZ Bank Settles Debanking Case With Aussie Bitcoin Trader

Allan Flynn won a settlement with ANZ for debanking him and is headed to the tribunal to take on Westpac next week.

Bitcoiner Allan Flynn has settled his first complaint with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) over being unilaterally debanked in 2018 and 2019 due to his occupation as a Digital Currency Exchange (DCE).

The settlement comes 20 months after the Canberra resident first filed complaints with the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal against ANZ.

In the settlement, the ANZ noted that it closed his accounts due to the risk of money laundering and terrorism funding (ML/TF) that it perceives among exchanges. It also acknowledged that the act of unbanking Flynn could “have amounted to unlawful discrimination contrary to sections 7(1)(p) and 20 of the Discrimination Act 1991.”

However, ANZ denied any liability saying that if it had “discriminated against Mr. Flynn by closing his accounts, that discrimination was reasonable in the circumstances and thus lawful.”

The statement by the ANZ also admitted that it closed his account upon detecting DCE activity without contacting Flynn for further information about his activities. Flynn argues that such discrimination is unlawful per Canberra law which states that, “It is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of your profession, trade, occupation or calling.”

Although this first battle is complete, he will take Westpac bank to the tribunal next Thursday over a second complaint.

Westpac closed his bank account in 2019 citing the same ML/TF concerns over him being a crypto trader.

Flynn told Cointelegraph the case was an important one as it will be the first time banks will be forced to say definitively whether they will serve Bitcoin traders. “All I’m asking for is a fair go,” he said.

Flynn plans to cite human rights violations by banks for discriminating against him and his occupation. He feels that this is the right path to take over calling for more regulations and hopes that a win could force policy changes nationwide or perhaps even internationally.

“A win against the banks could have wider implications for discrimination against occupations.”

He said that a ruling by the Tribunal will enjoy widespread public scrutiny, while a settlement beforehand could help change policy due to a partial admission of guilt. He worries, however, that a loss could see more Bitcoiners unbanked.

His case is far from unique. Just last month, Rebecca Schot-Guppy, the CEO of Fintech Australia told the Senate that up to 91 members of her organization had been debanked without apparent cause or means to appeal.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has issued increasingly specific regulations since 2015 about how DCEs must operate and be treated by the law.

Importantly, AUSTRAC has made it clear that the AML/counter-terrorism laws do not obligate banks to close the accounts of crypto traders.

Updated: 10-18-2021

Australia Has Third-Highest Rate of Crypto Adoption In The World

Almost 18% of the country’s population owns crypto.

Australia is more bullish on cryptocurrencies than most other countries around the world, according to a survey published by comparison site Finder on Sunday.

The survey, based on the site’s Cryptocurrency Adoption Index, measures the growth of crypto globally through a regular survey of more than 41,600 individuals across 22 countries.

Finder’s survey found Australia has the third-highest rate of crypto ownership at 17.8%, topping such countries as Indonesia (16.7%) and the city of Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China (15.8%).

The global average is 11.4%, according to Finder’s results.

“Australian’s love to gamble,” Finder CEO Fred Schebesta told CoinDesk via Signal on Monday. “They are also super savvy in terms of finance … the laws around crypto make it super smooth to buy and sell.”

Of the nearly 1 in 5 adults in Australia who own some form of crypto, Finder found bitcoin is the most popular coin as 65.2% of Australians who own crypto own the world’s largest crypto, the fifth-highest percentage of all 22 countries surveyed.

Ethereum, meanwhile, is the second-most popular coin in the country with a share of 42.1% among those who own crypto, while cardano’s share comes in third at 26.4%.

Two other cryptos Australian crypto owners hold are dogecoin (23%) and binance coin (14.6%), according to Finder’s results.

“Banking in Australia is really smooth and super easy to withdraw and deposit,” Schebesta added. “Other countries have a lot more laws and challenges around getting your money in and out [of crypto].”

Updated: 10-20-2021

Aussie Senate Committee Proposes Overhaul Of Crypto Taxes, DAOs And Exchange Licenses

The committee recommended more clarity for DAOs, new capital gains tax provisions and tax breaks for green miners.

The Senate Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Center (ATFC) has just tabled its third and final report in parliament, which has 12 far-reaching recommendations for the regulation of the digital asset and fintech industry down under.

It proposes new licenses for crypto exchanges, new laws to govern decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), an overhaul of capital gains tax in decentralized finance (DeFi) and a tax discount for crypto miners using renewable energy.

In general, the report found that there is a need for more regulatory clarity and certainty while avoiding stifling innovation with onerous requirements.

A key recommendation is to establish a new DCE Market License for digital currency exchanges, including requirements relating to capital reserves and auditing. The requirements should be scalable so that smaller operators are not squeezed out of the market.

It also recommended the capital gains tax rules should be updated to provide more clarity around the tax treatment for crypto assets and DeFi staking. The committee suggested that unlike in the current system, capital gains tax should only be applied when cryptocurrency transactions “genuinely result in a clearly definable capital gain or loss.”

The committee also recommended that the Treasury lead a policy review of the viability of a central bank digital currency, as well as put forward a proposal for a company tax discount of 10% for crypto miners who use renewable energy.

One world-leading recommendation is to establish a new regulatory structure for DAOs, which refers to decentralized community ownership and governance of a protocol. The report states:

“DAOs do not clearly fall within any of Australia’s existing company structures. […] This regulatory uncertainty is preventing the establishment of projects of significant scale in Australia.”

Asher Tan, CEO of Australian crypto exchange CoinJar, praised committee chair Senator Andrew Bragg and the team for “the forward-thinking approach they’ve taken with this proposed regulatory framework. He said:

“In our view, the AFTC report strikes a commendably optimistic tone that sees blockchain technology as the historic innovation that it is — and one that comes with matching opportunities and risks.”

The committee heard from a range of experts and industry players, including Blockchain Australia, leading exchanges, and firms, such as R3 and Ripple. The latter recommended that any regulatory framework should use a “risk-based approach to identify digital asset services that pose sufficient risk to warrant regulation.”

Steve Vallas, CEO of Blockchain Australia, said the organization was keen to hear from stakeholders for their feedback on the recommendations.

Senator Bragg Said The Proposed Regulations Would Help Australia To Become A Leader In Digital Assets:

“The committee has recommended a comprehensive crypto framework to deliver Australian leadership. We’ll be competitive with Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S.”

The Australian Taxation Office estimated that more than 600,000 taxpayers have invested in digital assets in recent years. Independent research suggests that 17% of Australians currently own cryptocurrency.

The report concluded that a robust regulatory framework was required in order to protect consumers, promote investment in Australia, and remain competitive globally:

“The potential economic opportunities are enormous if Australia is able to create a forward-leaning environment for new and emerging digital asset products.”

Updated: 10-23-2021

Australian Senators Pushing For Country To Become The Next Crypto Hub

The Australian Senate Committee delivered a report calling for a complete overhaul of crypto legislation and licensing in the country.

On Oct. 20, the Australian Senate Committee delivered a groundbreaking report calling for a complete overhaul of crypto legislation and licensing in the country. But, will it achieve its aim of transforming Australia into an international blockchain hub and providing a model for other countries to follow?

Top-down governmental responses to innovation have always been questioned by entrepreneurs. Right now in crypto land as institutional investment flows steadily in and decentralized finance (DeFi) use cases and products have continued to flourish over the past 18 months, many crypto companies are begging for further regulatory clarity.

The original Australian Senate Select Committee on FinTech and RegTech, chaired by Senator Andrew Bragg, was established in 2019 to strengthen the regulatory environment for fintechs and regtechs in Australia.

It would quickly become known as the Bragg Inquiry and is now largely focused on crypto. Generally not regarded for its regulatory progress, Australia’s quick pivot to researching and proposing helpful rules for the crypto industry has surprised many.

Judging by the report’s heavy quoting of stakeholders, the Australian government’s October 2021 Senate inquiry final report into digital assets has attempted to truly listen to the vast concerns and aspirations of the bustling Australian crypto industry, with almost 18% of Australia’s population owning crypto.

The inquiry released its final report after six months of hearings and submissions on the topic. This timely report has received widespread industry applause.

Generating A Response

Notable recommendations include proposals for tax reform and a possible new corporate entity to be able to register decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) in Australia. The recommendations present an opportunity to attract jobs, investment and innovation to Australia and to retain talent.

The outcome is perhaps not surprising, given that Bragg is making his mark as a “Crypto Bro.” He participated in a July “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit and met with crypto stakeholders. He conducted another in September, where he proclaimed:

“I am very keen on the democratic mandate of crypto — I think it has created an asset class that anyone can access.”

He seems to understand the space well, as the final report suggests Australia create DAOs as a new legal corporate vehicle. An acknowledgment that is trying not to subsume these new technologies into existing legal frameworks is contrary to Australia’s common law legal system built on precedent and legislation.

On Reddit, Bragg had tipped his hat to progressive legislation in the United States state of Wyoming: “The point here is regulatory arbitrage. We want the innovation to be legitimised through a non-stifling regulatory approach. Do you think the Wyoming DAOs are a good idea?”

So, has crypto gotten too big for the government to ignore? The report suggests the committee, composed of six members from the major political parties and an independent senator, and not just Bragg, is willing to explore new ideas and genuinely support Australia’s place as a home for crypto innovation.

The summation of the report is that Australia might legislate an encouraging regulatory regime for ambitious concepts such as DAOs and that crypto custodial services can now be conducted in Australia. Does this provide an example for less crypto-friendly countries to follow? After all, Australia has been long known for dangerous wildlife and, rarely if ever, for innovative regulation.

It could be argued that with this move, Australia is looking to position itself as a location with favorable laws, hoping to attract more business.

“Jurisdictions that provide competitive policy for decentralized technology will attract talent and investment in this space,” noted Kelsie Nabben, a Blockchain Australia board member and Cointelegraph contributor. Wyoming made DAOs a corporate entity a year ago and is now celebrated in crypto circles globally.

The industry welcomed the report but there are concerns that few in the government understand the industry well enough to adequately debate and pass the legislation. Chloe White, CEO of Genesis Block, is well known in crypto circles, having been the Australian government’s former “ambassador for blockchain.”

She Told Cointelegraph That The Government Will Need To Ramp Up Its Efforts In Order To Follow Through On Execution:

“The reforms proposed by the Senate mark a turning point. However, the government will struggle to meet the Senate’s ambitious deadline — of 12 months to legislation — if it does not liaise closely with industry experts to earn a more thorough understanding of digital assets.”

The final report — if implemented — would offer much regulatory clarity for the crypto industry. Here are some of the key recommendations that were included:

DAOs A Company Law Vehicle

Investor Telegram groups have paid considerable attention to the Australian inquiry. Notably, investors are greatly excited by the recommendation for the government to establish a new DAO company structure into corporate law. Legal personality for DAOs and limited liability for members would open the floodgates of innovation.

This Senate’s final report itself noted: “Legal liability for members (i.e. token holders) for these organisations is currently unclear, and this regulatory uncertainty is preventing the establishment of projects of significant scale in Australia.” In other words, institutional investment could now flow to major DAO-based projects.

“This is a big one. If legislated, these will be the most significant reform to corporate law in two decades,” RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub researcher Aaron Lane noted in a press release, adding: “Providing DAO members with the option of a limited liability company structure will encourage talent and investment in Australia.”

Stop De-Banking Of Crypto Exchanges

The committee first recommended establishing a new market licensing regime for crypto exchanges since the major Australian banks have long been accused by Australian regulators and the Senate Inquiry of the anti-competitive removal of remittance payments for crypto exchanges or “de-banking,” despite being registered with the financial services watchdog Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, or AUSTRAC.

Large centralized crypto exchanges such as Independent Reserve supported the idea in their Senate submissions to the inquiry.

Further, the proposal recommended establishing “bespoke” custody or depository regime for crypto assets. Crypto asset custody under the remit of Australian regulators would act as a risk minimizer for local investors and encourage custodial businesses to be set up in Australia.

A “token mapping” exercise aimed at appropriately characterizing different crypto assets and determining if they are considered financial products that require some crypto exchanges to register for an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) is also proposed.

This would be welcomed by many, particularly those seeking institutional investment. Australia is also particularly well-known for long established custody rules from a highly professional superannuation industry as a reference point.

One key change is to institute a new recourse for under-banked customers, which would allow customers to appeal to the banks’ decisions. Common access could also be granted to the New Payments Platform, an industry-wide payments platform for Australia, national infrastructure for fast, flexible and data rich payments in Australia controlled by a group of major banks.

This move would reduce the reliance on payments systems on the major banks since the crypto exchange industry in Australia is believed to be built on a house of cards without direct banking. Many crypto exchanges rely on two to three fintechs to bank with the Australian banking system.

If those fintechs were de-banked, then the crypto exchange industry is plausibly at risk of collapse in Australia.
Rejecting the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Travel Rule.

Furthermore, the inquiry rejected the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “Travel Rule.” FATF is the international body that sets standards for Anti-Money Laundering. The Travel Rule means that in transactions involving virtual assets, ordering institutions must obtain and hold Know Your Customer (KYC) information for both the sender and the receiver.

FATF currently has an extremely broad working definition regarding virtual assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs).

The key point is that FATF considers VASPs very broadly when it comes to the purposes of the Travel Rule. Decentralized exchanges (DEXs), certain decentralized application (DApp) owners and operators, crypto escrow services and certain nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are all considered VASPs. This, is of course, unworkable for DeFi projects which are open access to anyone with a crypto wallet and do not require verification.

If crypto exchanges were overregulated under the wide FATF Travel Rule approach, this would likely stop Australia from becoming a hub of DeFi innovation. The Travel Rule is far too expansive in its description of VASPs, making enforcement very difficult for products such as high-frequency automated trading.

While this would hinder experimentation in the crypto industry, it would also send some decentralized exchanges and protocols permanently underground, as they would seek to avoid any compliance. To date, no government seems to want to enforce the Travel Rule. Perhaps everyone is waiting for the U.S. to lead on the issue.

Clearing Up The DeFi Tax Nightmare

The evolution of DeFi has made the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies increasingly problematic for the industry. While Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are currently considered capital gains tax assets and eligible for capital gains tax upon the sale, DeFi’s liquid speed presents a new problem for tax considerations.

Examples include minting and staking, along with the tax status of crypto to crypto exchanges, liquidity provider tokens and wrapped coins, which remain unclear for tax purposes.

The Bragg Inquiry recommended that capital gains tax should only be applied “when there is a clearly definable capital gain or loss” when a trade occurs. However, the threshold for triggering taxation has yet to be declared.

Also, a 10% tax discount was proposed for businesses that sourced their own renewable energy to mine cryptocurrencies and could serve as a nice touch to attract talent to Australia.

Mostly Positive Response?

Many were surprised by the support from Australia’s crypto industry. CEO at BTC Markets, Caroline Bowler, praised the recommendations saying Senator Bragg’s report not only meets our expectations of a proportionate, responsive policy change but also surpasses it in many ways: “For an industry that is moving at such a rapid pace, these pragmatic recommendations are going to give a massive leg up in putting Australia on the global fintech map.”

Tim Lea, a crypto policy activist in Sydney and the CEO of fractional funding platform, Fractonium, told Cointelegraph:

“The report is supremely intensive. If the key recommendations are taken up, it has the potential to position Australia so strongly in the global markets as a jurisdiction with a workable regulatory framework that provides Australian innovators with the clarity, certainty and flexibility to aggressively seize global market share.”

The order of the recommendations is notable and suggests that the government understood which policy levers to pull first.

Fred Pucci, a long time crypto advocate and investor, told Cointelegraph that the report reads “a bit like playing music. It makes artistic choices at every step.” DeFi, which is hard to regulate if at all, was not explicitly mentioned in recommendation one, which concerns the establishment of a market licensing regime for digital currency exchanges.

In recommendation two, custody is advised as important for investor protections but, again, no mention of DeFi or “upstairs markets,” an old term in equity for off-market trades being permitted but less transparent.

Meanwhile, “DAOs are the future and a key part of DeFi and this says that Australia wants to create a legal environment for experimentation in Recommendation 4” states Pucci. It is interesting that DAOs are considered to be ahead of the Anti-Money Laundering reform recommendations.

In short, crypto exchanges are supported front-and-center first in the recommendations, but the regulation is not over-reaching. This reflects the policy messaging throughout the 143 page report.

Devil In The Details

The report is mostly aspirational for now, but some regulatory patience may play in Australia’s favor. This area could be finalized as these proposed laws settle in the future, giving Australia time to follow other jurisdictions. The token mapping delay is sensible because tokens and assets are hard to define, as every country now knows.

Senator Bragg said he believed the recommendations struck the right balance between encouraging innovation and protecting consumers, and that he wanted the proposals legislated within 12 months.

He also suggested that his aim was to challenge other crypto-friendly jurisdictions, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. “What we’ve tried to do is not use old hooks for new coats. This is a detailed report with an agenda for Australian leadership in digital assets,” he said:

“We want to be an economy which is dynamic, we don’t want to be captured by the old vested interests of yesteryear.”

Some are still reticent, recalling Australia’s regulatory track record for innovation. “This is an 8.5/10” said Pucci, “but it’s probably not going to get much better than this at the implementation stage. It still has to go through the Treasury and the rest of the political system.”

Updated: 10-29-2021

Australian Securities Regulator Issues Guidelines For Crypto ETPs

The Australian securities regulator decided not to require crypto ETF providers to hold domestic crypto custody.

The Australia Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued its response to public consultation on cryptocurrency exchange-traded products (ETPs) alongside fresh industry guidance.

On Friday, the regulator released a set of regulatory requirements for funds looking to offer crypto ETPs, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and structured products, following the months of industry consultation initiated in late June.

According to the official guidance, ASIC has so far greenlighted ETPs based on major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) and expects more crypto assets to become a foundation for ETPs in the future:

“As at October 2021, Bitcoin and Ether appear likely to satisfy all five factors identified above to determine appropriate underlying assets for an ETP. We expect the range of non-financial product crypto-assets that can satisfy these factors will expand over time.”

“In order to become a proper basis for a crypto ETF, crypto-assets should obtain a high level of institutional support, a mature spot market, a regulated futures market, reputable and experienced service providers and transparent pricing mechanisms,” the guidance reads.

For each crypto ETF product application, licensed exchanges have to assess whether the issuer is able to fulfill its obligations in relation to the product, including providing safe and secure custody as well as obtaining relevant licenses.

In a response to public consultation, the ASIC also said that it doesn’t require domestic crypto custody for entities issuing crypto ETFs, noting that such restrictions would unfairly limit competition.

“While we acknowledge concerns raised by respondents about overseas-based custody of crypto assets such as the potential for difficulties in recovering assets across jurisdictions, we consider it would be inappropriate to mandate a domestic custodian requirement,” the document reads.

The news comes shortly after Australian hedge fund manager Cosmos Asset Management debuted its crypto mining-linked ETF on Chi-X Australia on Thursday. The Cosmos Global Digital Miners Access ETF began trading under the ticker DIGA and tracks several firms like Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital, Hive Blockchain Technologies, Hut 8 Mining and others.

Australian ETF provider BetaShares is also preparing to launch a crypto ETF linked to industry companies like Coinbase and MicroStrategy. The crypto ETF will reportedly start trading on the Australian Securities Exchange under the ticker CRYP next week.

 

Updated: 11-2-2021

Crypto Founders Top Young Australian Rich List

Seven of Australia’s 87 richest entrepreneurs aged 40 and under are crypto founders, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has compiled a list containing 87 of Australia’s richest entrepreneurs aged 40 and under, each of whom boasts a net worth greater than 36 million Australian dollars ($26.9 million).

The list is topped by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, the co-founder and the chief operating officer of popular graphic design software providers Canva. The married couple has an estimated net worth of 16.5 billion AUD ($12.3 billion) between them.

Seven crypto luminaires have debuted on the AFR’s “Young Rich” list of 2021, including the minds behind some of the leading protocols in the decentralized finance (DeFi) and nonfungible token sectors.

Synthetix

Kain Warwick, founder of derivatives trading protocol Synthetix, is ranked as the most affluent crypto figure in Australia, coming in at seventh overall with an estimated net worth of 879 million AUD ($657 million).

Warwick founded Synthetix in 2017, with the protocol consisting of an Ethereum-based decentralized synthetic asset issuance protocol that offers exposure to a wide range of markets, such as crypto, stocks and commodities via synthetic assets.

Synthetix ranks as the 22nd-largest DeFi protocol with a total value locked (TVL) of $2.2 billion, while its native SNX token is the 85th-largest crypto asset with a capitalization of $1.9 billion at the time of writing.

Synthetix has raised a total of 46.1 million AUD ($34.46 million) over six funding rounds. The rounds included participation from Paradigm, Coinbase Ventures and IOSG Ventures, according to Crunchbase.

Illuvium And The Warwick Brothers

Kain Warwick is not the only member of the family on the list, with three of his brothers in Aaron, Grant and Keiran also making the list this year.

The three brothers co-founded the upcoming play-to-earn crypto game Illuvium in 2020. Keiran leads the pack with a net worth of 463 million AUD ($346 million) to rank 22nd, while Aaron is close behind in 26th with 425 million AUD, and Grant comes in at 34th with 196 million AUD.

Despite the Illuvium game currently still being in development, the ILV token has shot up the market capitalization rankings this year amid meteoric price growth to currently sit at 145th with a capitalization of $721 million.

To date, Illuvium has raised $5 million from a funding round that included participation from Framework Ventures and IOSG Ventures.

Sustainable Bitcoin Miners

Brothers Daniel and William Roberts also made the list, with the duo ranking in at 19th with a combined 484 million AUD. The duo founded a sustainable energy-focused Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm dubbed Iris Energy earlier this year. Cointelegraph reported in July the firm was looking to raise $200 million in preparation to go public on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Last week, the firm filed for an initial public offering with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million. The firm intends to list its shares under the REN ticker later this year.

Sergienko’s Rise To Fame

Finally, Sydney-based Sergei Sergienko ranked 60th with a net worth of 97 million AUD ($72.5 million) in part due to his work with Chronobank, a blockchain-based firm he founded in 2016 that streamlines recruiting processes and enables workers to get paid in crypto assets.

“The company empowers HR and recruitment professionals with blockchain technology, as well as enabling global freelancers to secure the best jobs and make sure they are paid quickly and fairly,” Chronobank’s website reads.

Aussie Crypto Companies Keen To Embrace Regulations, Says Senator

Australian Senator Andrew Bragg says local crypto founders are keen to embrace regulation in a bid to propel the digital asset sector into the mainstream.

Australian Senator for New South Wales Andrew Bragg has asserted that robust regulations would “bring credibility and validity” to the country’s emerging digital asset sector.

Speaking to local publication Finder on Tuesday, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, commented that the country’s crypto sector has shown a willingness to embrace greater regulatory oversight in a bid to attain mainstream legitimacy.

“To my surprise, I’ve never seen an industry so keen for regulation,” said Senator Bragg.

“Almost everyone I’ve spoken to in this industry understood that regulation would bring credibility and validity to this sector.”

Bragg added that he expects new regulations overseeing the crypto industry will be introduced in Australia within the coming 12 months.

Bragg’s comments come after his senate committee published its “Crypto Report” last month.

The report made 12 recommendations intended to tackle key issues pertinent to the cryptocurrency sector, including a tax discount for crypto miners using renewable energy, new licenses for crypto exchanges, an overhaul of capital gains tax in decentralized finance, and new laws to govern decentralized autonomous organizations.

The document also acknowledged that the current lack of legislative clarity regarding digital assets “is creating uncertainty for project developers, businesses, investors and consumers.”

According to Bragg, the recommendations will enable Australia to compete with leading jurisdictions for the blockchain and crypto industries, including Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Surveys show that around 25% of Australians either currently or have previously held cryptocurrencies, making Australia one of the biggest adopters of cryptocurrencies on a per-capita basis.

The Australian Taxation Office estimates there are over 600,000 taxpayers who have invested in digital assets in recent years.

Swyftx, a Brisbane-based cryptocurrency broker with over 100 staff employed in Australia, called for the government to facilitate the growing demand for access to the digital asset industry.

“Bringing digital assets inside a tailored and sensible regulatory perimeter is a far better solution than forcing consumers to operate outside of it with unregulated, foreign providers,” Swyftx told the committee.

Blockchain Australia also commented on the need for Australia to enact appropriate regulatory reform in order to keep pace with other jurisdictions, the report stated.

“Australia is lagging behind international jurisdictions in the development of a fit-for-purpose crypto-asset framework,” the industry association commented

Updated: 11-3-2021

Commonwealth Bank To Enable Crypto Trading For 6.5M Aussies, ‘Other Banks Will Follow’

The CBA stated that it will support 10 crypto assets in its banking app, including Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is set to launch crypto trading services for the 6.5 million users of its CommBank app.

The CBA will become the first bank in Australia to support crypto, and Blockchain Australia said it is “inevitable” that the other “big four” banks, including National Australia Bank (NAB), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and Westpac, will soon follow suit.

According to a Wednesday announcement, the CBA has partnered with the Gemini crypto exchange and blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis to launch its crypto services. The bank will launch a pilot for a limited number of customers in the coming weeks before rolling out the full service in 2022.

Ten crypto assets will be supported in its banking app, with Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC) named at this stage.

Steve Vallas, CEO of Blockchain Australia, told Cointelegraph that this move was “extraordinarily important,” as the big four banks in Australia “underpin our national and international reputation as a financial services destination.”

“The confidence that this provides local digital asset sector participants will be dwarfed by the impact that this signal sends around the world that Australia should be a destination for cryptocurrency and digital asset adoption.”

Vallas believes the rapid growth and adoption of crypto has “shifted the risk of maintaining a wait-and-see approach” in the view of the big banks to a risk of “inaction” and being left behind. Vallas believes it is only a matter of time before the other major Australian banks launch their own crypto services.

“It is inevitable that the other banks will follow suit. Clarity in the local regulatory landscape is emerging with issues such as licensing being tackled head-on by industry and by governments. That impediments to action and participation are being removed,” he said.

Caroline Bowler, CEO of local crypto exchange BTC Markets, echoed similar sentiments to Vallas, noting that “with regulation, in the offing and the largest bank in the country allowing it, the floodgates are now open for more appetite from traditional finance.”

“CBA’s move is exciting and inevitable. It’s yet another ‘red-letter day’ for crypto, and it is as though Australia has suddenly put the lead foot down. We have been touted as playing catch up all this while, but now we’re moving into a leadership position globally with our largest bank.”

Dave Abner, global head of business development at Gemini, said that his firm was “proud” to be working with CBA to launch world-leading crypto services.

“The exponential growth of digital assets internationally, coupled with Gemini’s institutional-grade security and proactive regulatory approach, positions this partnership to set a new standard for banks and financial platforms in Australia and across the globe,” he said.

Not everyone was pleased with CBA’s partnership, however, with Adrian Przelozny, CEO of Australian crypto exchange Independent Reserve, expressing his dismay over the bank partnering with an overseas firm.

“It’s disappointing that CBA went with an overseas player and didn’t engage with local players at all. We will be reaching out to the other Australian banks now,” Przelozny said.

Cointelegraph reported on Oct. 15 that Allan Flynn, a Canberra-based Bitcoin (BTC) trader, settled his first complaint at the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal against ANZ for de-banking him in 2018 and 2019 due to his occupation as a Digital Currency Exchange.

While ANZ denied any liability, the bank offered him a chance to reapply for a bank account, suggesting that the bank is more open to crypto than it was two to three years ago. Flynn also has a similar case against Westpac that’s ongoing.

Commenting on Wednesday’s news, Flynn told Cointelegraph that the crypto landscape in Australia is rapidly changing:

“There are a lot of things suddenly happening in the Australian Bitcoin space; you have the Senate inquiry, ANZ’s acknowledgment of a legit human rights question to be answered in my complaint, AUSTRAC’s extraordinary statement on de-banking last Friday, and now CBA’s digital currency plans being unveiled.”

“I’m just here arguing my lawful human rights and hoping it makes a difference,” he added.

 

The RBA’s Defeat Down Under Should Worry Central Bankers

A sudden surge in Australian government bond yields should have other monetary authorities watching their backs.

The bond market has just notched a win in its tussle with the central bank of the land Down Under. As inflationary expectations intensify globally, that could be a preview of things to come for many other central banks world-wide.

The Reserve Bank of Australia said Tuesday that it has scrapped its “yield curve control” policy, which aimed to peg 2024 government bond yields at 0.1%. The policy was introduced last March at the height of the initial spread of Covid-19 internationally and has been tweaked a few times since.

Tuesday’s announcement, however, was different: more of a concession to reality than anything else. The central bank had already effectively abandoned the policy by not stepping in as the market ran amok over the past few weeks.

Yields on two-year Australian government debt rose to 0.78% last Friday from 0.1% at the beginning of October. The surge picked up steam last week after inflation numbers came in higher than expected. The RBA’s governor said Tuesday that the central bank faced a difficult choice between doing nothing or stepping in to defend a yield target that was losing credibility.

Ironically, the RBA’s inaction was the main reason the target had lost that credibility. The RBA’s board might have made the same decision at Tuesday’s monetary-policy meeting anyway, since last Wednesday’s annual trimmed core inflation reading of 2.1% edged back into the RBA’s targeted range of 2%-3% for the first time in years.

But having already quietly capitulated to the market move, the bank would likely have been in for an even costlier battle with speculators if it had tried to reconstitute the target ex post facto—especially if future inflation readings kept coming in above expectations.

The episode is a warning for other central banks, which could soon be facing a multitude of similar challenges from the market if inflation keeps surprising on the upside. Short-term bond yields have risen globally, though not as dramatically as in Australia. Two-year bond yields in the U.S. are around 25 basis points higher than two months earlier, for example.

The latest economic figures do point to higher inflation in many places. The difficulty for the central bankers, of course, is to judge whether such inflation is transitory—due to temporary supply-chain issues, for example—or more structural.

Central banks may eventually agree that inflationary pressure is real enough to warrant rate increases, but the last thing they want is to be seen as capitulating to market pressure rather than relying on their own judgment.

More real-time tests of their nerve seem very likely soon.

Updated: 11-5-2021

BetaShares’ Crypto Company ETF Smashes Australian Records On Opening Day

The CRYP fund was marketed as an opportunity for stock market investors to dip their toes into crypto.

Australian fund management company BetaShares’ new crypto company exchange-traded fund (ETF) smashed Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) records within the first 15 minutes of listing.

The Capital Appreciation Portfolio Diversification (CRYP) fund enables investors to gain exposure to 50 pure-play-listed crypto companies from around the world, such as exchanges, mining companies and equipment firms.

Some of the top companies on CRYP include Galaxy Digital (12.0%), Marathon Digital (11.3%), Coinbase Global (10.7%), Silvergate Capital (10.2%) and MicroStrategy (9.4%).

Investors blasted through the existing ETF record of $5.8 million ($8 million Australian dollars) within minutes and soared to a total of almost $31.3 million ($42.5 million AUD) by the end of opening day, signaling massive pent up demand for crypto exposure on the ASX.

Ryan McCall, CEO of Australian crypto investment platform Zerocap, said that CRYP’s success didn’t come as a surprise, given Australia’s appetite for crypto over the past 12 months.

“We’ve had records broken in our business this year too; demand from high net worth individuals, family offices and advisers has really ramped up, and that looks set to accelerate with institutional adoption.”

He added, “A spot Bitcoin ETF in Australia isn’t far away, followed by Ethereum and potentially other cryptocurrencies.”

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has just given a provision green light for the launch of Bitcoin and Ether ETFs, provided a long list of guidelines is followed.

CRYP’s success mirrors the launch of the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which marked the first Bitcoin (BTC) futures-based ETF in the United States. The October launch saw around $1 billion in volume on its opening day, with 24.313 million BITO shares changing hands.

However, U.S. regulators appear to be reluctant to approve a spot Bitcoin ETF (which holds actual Bitcoin rather than futures contracts), placing Australia ahead in the game.

McCall said that Bitcoin futures ETFs “are an inferior product to spot Bitcoin, with price disconnected from the underlying asset. Hopefully, the regulators here see that and we go straight to spot.”

Earlier this week, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced plans to support trading of 10 crypto assets on its app, which has 6.5 million active users.

ANZ Bank Executive: The ‘Weight Of Money’ Means Crypto Can’t Be Ignored

“When you look under the hood on that, we’ve concluded that this is a major protocol shift for financial market infrastructure,” said Nigel Dobson, ANZ’s banking services portfolio lead.

One of the ANZ bank’s senior executives has told a Blockchain Australia forum that the crypto sector has grown too big to be ignored by traditional finance.

The comments came a day after rival Commonwealth Bank announced that it would roll out crypto trading services for 10 digital assets via its Commbank app.

The “State of Play” forum was held by Blockchain Australia on Thursday and featured representatives from organizations including Mastercard, ANZ and NAB offering their take on the crypto sector in the wake of CBA’s play.

Nigel Dobson, ANZ’s banking services portfolio lead, stated that the growth of the crypto and blockchain tech over the past 12 to 18 months has put the sector firmly on the bank’s radar:

“There’s this sort of weight of money that you just simply at some point can’t ignore right? And you know, in the DeFi world that we’ve been watching for a while or even in just the currency space, it’s just the weight of money and the quality of money that’s moving into these venues that it makes us think, well, what is happening here?”

“When you look under the hood on that, we’ve concluded that this is a major protocol shift for financial market infrastructure,” he added.

Dobson is a senior banker with more than 30 years of experience at Barclays, Citibank and ANZ. He likened the technological advancements brought about by blockchain tech to the transformative effects the internet had on global commerce in the early 2000s.

“We’re seeing the same kind of shift occurring here. We’re shifting to more decentralized, arguably more trusted, more secure, faster, cheaper, better — yet to be proven —but if that’s the thesis that these protocols can generate better outcomes and new business models, then they can’t be ignored,” he said.

None of the other members of Australia’s big four banks has announced any immediate plans to follow CBA in enabling crypto trading. Dobson stated that it was unclear how CBA’s trial would go, but implied that the ANZ is likely to join the party at some stage.

“I think the move that the CBA made yesterday was bold and it is yet to be seen whether those customers will embrace that. But certainly all of what we’ve been talking about today, particularly in this section of the commentary, is that that the ship has sailed. And so what it is that we need to do is to navigate our path towards utilizing these networks,” he said.

The bullish comments mark a significant change from the bank, which recently settled a case with Canberra-based Bitcoin trader Aaron Flynn after he took legal action against ANZ over de-banking between 2018 and 2019 due to his work as a digital currency exchange (DCE).

Updated: 11-19-2021

Reserve Bank Warns Aussies Over Punting On ‘Fad Driven’ Cryptocurrencies

The Reserve Bank of Australia has warned local investors that the speculative frenzy on crypto could soon dry up if policymakers and regulators step in.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has warned Aussie investors about speculating on digital assets as it casts doubt over the entire crypto sector.

During a Thursday address to the Australian Corporate Treasury Association, the RBA’s head of payments policy Tony Richards offered an overview on distributed ledger tech, crypto assets, stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

In his speech, Richards raised questions over crypto’s validity and growth in 2021 as he took aim at the amount of capital invested into memecoins such as Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB):

“The recent boom in this area is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that was started as a joke in late 2013, had an implied market capitalization as high as $88 billion in June this year.”

“And the Shiba Inu token, which appears to be equally free of any useful function, is currently the ninth-largest cryptocurrency, with a market capitalization of around $26 billion,” he added.

Richards also asserted that public attention captured by crypto in 2021 was “no doubt fueled by influencers and celebrity tweets,” as he refuted the reported scope of how widespread crypto adoption really is in the country.

“Some surveys have claimed that around 20 percent of the Australian population hold cryptocurrencies, and one claimed that Dogecoin alone was held by 5 percent of Australians. I must say that I find these statistics somewhat implausible,” he said.

Richards outlined three scenarios in which the “current speculative demand could begin to reverse” in crypto that would essentially leave digital assets with minimal use cases in his opinion.

Firstly, he argued that investors may soon “be less influenced by fads” and FOMO and instead pay more attention to warnings of regulators and policymakers.

Secondly, he said that governments across the globe may aim to crack down on energy-intensive proof-of-work-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), and finally he said the tax authorities may aim to remove anonymity to clamp down on financial crime.

Commenting on Richards’ address, Steve Vallas, the CEO of Blockchain Australia, refuted the speculative-focused arguments against the entire sector, telling Cointelegraph that:

“Some regulators maintain an unhelpful and narrow focus on the speculative elements of the sector. That lens misses the remarkable infrastructure build that has occurred in recent years.”

Crypto-friendly Senator Andrew Bragg, who is one of the key politicians behind the push to introduce robust crypto regulations in Australia echoed similar sentiments, noting that “the RBA is short-sighted on cryptocurrency. The utility and value to the economy of the technology is enormous.”

 

Updated: 11-19-2021

‘Too Risky’: $2.4 Trillion Pension Sector Remains Wary of Crypto

Cryptocurrencies are getting a cool reception in Australia’s A$3.3 trillion ($2.4 trillion) pension fund industry, underlining the challenge digital assets face to win significant investment from retirement savings.

Long-term funds have to watch how the crypto sector develops, but extreme price swings make virtual currencies “too risky to be considered for institutional portfolios,” Ross Barry, who oversees A$27 billion as chief investment officer of superannuation fund Spirit Super, said in an interview.

“It’s still volatile and there are still significant governance risks around things like even down to how do you have custody,” Barry said. “I don’t think it’s fit for purpose for superannuation funds.”

Some pension funds globally have committed relatively small amounts to the nascent asset class, for instance in the U.S., but such public announcements are relatively few and far between. Crypto supporters argue it’s a matter of time, pointing to diversification benefits and surveys such as one from Fidelity Investments Inc. suggesting most institutions are interested and plan crypto allocations by 2026.

Crypto volatility has been in full display this month. Bitcoin surged to a record of almost $69,000 on Nov. 10, boosted by optimism around the launch of the first Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded fund in the U.S. It has since tumbled back to about $58,000.

Crypto-stocks linked ETFs have been rolled out in Australia in recent weeks. Providers including VanEck Associates Corp. and BetaShares Holdings Pty are looking at launching ETFs providing exposure to spot Bitcoin and Ether prices as local regulations evolve.

For pension and other funds, investing in tokens via regulated ETFs can fit into a “multi-asset portfolio with a lot more transparency,” Alistair Mills, director of institutional business and capital markets at BetaShares, said in an interview.

It remains to be seen how much of a difference such products would make. In self-managed pension funds — where there’s arguably a higher likelihood of investment in crypto — just A$212 million is invested in digital assets from a pool of A$822 billion, according to Australian Taxation Office data.

Barry at Spirit Super is continuing to research virtual currencies, especially central bank digital currencies, which could lead to a crypto shakeout and bring legitimacy to the private tokens that survive.

“It would be remiss of us not to keep a weather eye on the potential for cryptocurrency to become a more relevant part of the global currency system,” Barry said. “We’ve just taken the view that it’s just still too untested.”

Updated: 11-22-2021

Australian Senator Says DeFi Is ‘Not Going Away Any Time Soon’

The Liberal Party Senator commented that DeFi “presents huge opportunities” for Australia to cement its place as a “front-runner for innovation.”

Senator Jane Hume has stated that decentralized finance (DeFi) “presents huge opportunities” for Australia to cement its place as a “front-runner for innovation and economic progress.”

Senator Hume spoke at the Australian Financial Review Super & Wealth Summit in Sydney on Monday, Nov. 22. She is the Australian minister for Women’s Economic Security, representing the state of Victoria as a member of the Liberal Party.

The conference was primarily about super and government retirement funds — both notoriously slow and steady investments. The comments on DeFi are more notable in this regard.

Senator Hume called for industry and government to acknowledge that DeFi is “not a fad,” and to “tread cautiously, but not fearfully” because the technology is “not going away any time soon.”

“If the last 20 or 30 years have taught us anything, it’s that all innovation begins as disruption and ends as a household name,” she said. She also referenced the fast-paced nature of the industry:

“Decentralized finance underpinned by blockchain technology will present incredible opportunities — Australia mustn’t be left behind by fear of the unknown.”

Speaking on policy, she noted that Australia’s economic future will be defined by “innovation” and “uptake of technology” as the country continues to recover from the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also commended industry players for “embracing innovation and developments in this space,” particularly around blockchain technology, making specific reference to Commonwealth Bank.

On Nov. 3, the bank announced it will allow the 6.5 million users of its banking app to trade 10 crypto assets including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC).

“This will make CBA the first Australian bank — and one of just a handful of banks worldwide — to offer customers this sort of access,” she said.

According to Finder’s Crypto Survey of 27,400 respondents, 17% of Australians invest in cryptocurrency. However, the country’s uptake of crypto has seen increasing pressure from lawmakers and regulatory bodies.

Last month, the senate committee of pro-crypto NSW senator Andrew Bragg published its “crypto report,” which made 12 recommendations intended to tackle key issues pertinent to the cryptocurrency sector.

Bragg said that the recommendations will enable Australia to compete with leading jurisdictions for the blockchain and crypto industries, including Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom.

 

Updated: 11-23-2021

Commonwealth Bank Of Australia Recognizes Risks In Missing Out On Crypto

“We see risks in participating, but we see bigger risks in not participating,” said CBA CEO Matt Comyn on the bank’s recent crypto adoption play.

Matt Comyn, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), said that the bank is more concerned about the risks of missing out on crypto than those associated with its adoption.

The CBA is set to become the first of the “big four” banks in Australia to offer crypto-based services after the company announced on Nov. 3 that it would support the trading of 10 digital assets directly via its banking app.

Speaking with Bloomberg TV on Friday, Comyn was questioned on the CBA’s take on the crypto sector, with the CEO noting:

“We see risks in participating, but we see bigger risks in not participating. It’s important to say that we don’t have a view on the asset price itself we see it as a very volatile and speculative asset, but we also don’t think that the sector and the technology is going away anytime soon.”

Comyn also suggested that there will be much more to come from the CBA’s crypto adoption play, as he highlighted that the bank sees many use cases from blockchain tech, along with strong demand from consumers.

“And so we want to understand it, we want to provide a competitive offering to customers with the right disclosure around risks. We want to build capability in and around DLT and blockchain technology,” he added.

ASIC Holds No FOMO And Can’t Regulate The Sector

While the CBA appears to be bullish on crypto and distributed ledger tech, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has urged for investor caution while also noting that it is unable to oversee the sector.

Speaking at the Australian Financial Review Super & Wealth Summit on Mo, ASIC chairman Joe Longo suggested that the financial enforcer cannot regulate crypto, as the asset class currently does not fall under the scope of “financial products” in Australia:

“The demand-driven nature of the rush into crypto has thrown up some unique challenges. At present many crypto-assets are probably not ‘financial products’, making it difficult for financial advisers to offer counsel.”

“ASIC has already provided some guidance on exchange-traded funds linked to crypto-assets — they at least are financial products and traded on a licensed exchange, so there will be some protections there — but for the most part, for now at least, investors are on their own,” he added.

In Longo’s personal view, he urged local investors to pursue crypto with great caution, noting that “the maxim ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ comes to mind.” However, he also emphasized that the crypto proposals put forward by the Australian Senate last month were the right move for the local climate.

“Wherever we land from a policy perspective, Senator Bragg’s committee was right to highlight the fact that crypto is on our doorstep, here and now, and being driven by extraordinary consumer and investor demand,” he said.

 

Updated: 11-26-2021

Australian Tax Office Says It Can’t Rely On Crypto Users’ Own Records

“Our main concern is that many taxpayers believe their cryptocurrency gains are tax-free or only taxable when the holdings are cashed back into Australian dollars,” said the ATO commissioner.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) said it can’t rely on crypto investors to keep track of their crypto transactions and profits — even though most investors try their best.

Speaking at the 14th International ATAX Conference on Tax Administration conference on Tuesday, ATO commissioner Chris Jordan stressed that many new crypto investors may not entirely understand their tax reporting obligations:

“In a sector that is growing rapidly with new investors, we can’t rely on taxpayers knowing they need to keep records of their investment income and capital gains and disclose it on their tax returns.”

“Our main concern is that many taxpayers believe their cryptocurrency gains are tax-free or only taxable when the holdings are cashed back into Australian dollars,” he added.

Jordan explained that the ATO has been working on ways to “nudge” people in the right direction such as pre-filling data on tax returns to prompt crypto users to report their investments.

The commissioner also said the ATO has ramped up its trading data matching capabilities in 2021 by sourcing information from cryptocurrency demand-side platforms, share registries and brokers.

“We’ve expanded our data matching protocols to get more data from third parties to assist with emerging investments like cryptocurrency.”

He added , “We are working hard to improve the way we collect, manage, share, and use data, but we are just scratching the surface.”

Jordan did note, however, that “most people do the right thing” as tax reporting compliance, or the “tax performance” of individuals and small businesses in Australia is high with “little or no intervention” from the ATO at 94% and 87%, respectively.

Chainalysis Down Under

A firm that the ATO may call on in future is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s partner Chainalysis.

On Wednesday, Chainalysis country manager in Australia and New Zealand Todd Lenfield told the Australian Financial Review that his firm is hoping to provide key expertise to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the ATO.

“We want to have conversations with AUSTRAC about what they are looking to regulate and explain to the tax office the lessons that can be learned from what the IRS is doing. We can take experience we have got in the space, and provide a local flavor,” he said.

The firm currently provides blockchain analysis services for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. It also investigated Russia-based crypto business Suex OTC, which was targeted by the U.S. Treasury Department in September over facilitating transactions for ransomware payments.

Updated: 11-28-2021

Australia Seeks To Make Social-Media Firms Liable For Users’ Defamatory Comments

New legislation would create a defense for tech companies that disclose details of users when a complaint is made against their statements.

Australia said on Sunday that it would introduce legislation to make social-media companies liable for defamatory comments published on their platforms, in a move that risks exposing tech companies to future lawsuits.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the legislation also aims to unmask people who make hurtful comments online by requiring companies such as Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook to disclose their details, such as an email address or cellphone number, when a complaint is made.

Social-media companies that provide those details when a complaint is made would have a defense from being the publisher of comments on their platforms, he said.

“It is in the social-media companies’ interests to make sure that they have a very voracious way of ensuring that they can actually tell people who this is,” Mr. Morrison said. “Otherwise, they’re the ones who are going to get the case brought against them.”

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the company is waiting to receive more detail from the Australian government on the proposal, declining to comment further.

The proposed legislation comes after Australia’s highest court found in September that news organizations are legally liable for comments on their Facebook pages.

In the September ruling, the High Court of Australia determined that media companies facilitated and encouraged comments from users by creating public Facebook pages and posting content on them. According to the court, media companies are responsible for any defamatory content that appears on their Facebook pages because they are considered publishers of the comments.

The decision of the High Court, Australia’s equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court, chilled the media industry locally and overseas. CNN restricted access to its Facebook pages in Australia following the ruling, while some legal experts warned it could hinder the ability of media companies to promote important public-interest journalism.

Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australia, on Sunday said the government’s proposed legislation is a positive step.

“These are tough new, world-first laws that will give Australian courts the power to order social media giants to identify perpetrators or risk incurring hefty defamation payouts,” Mr. Miller said.

News Corp Australia is a subsidiary of News Corp, which also owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

James Chessell, managing director, publishing, at Nine Entertainment Co., owner of the Sydney Morning Herald, said, “Nine welcomes the government’s announcement today, which will put responsibility for third party comments made on social media pages with the person who made the comment or with the platforms if the platforms cannot identify the person.”

Australia is considered to be a defamation hot spot because of plaintiff-friendly laws that make it easier to win defamation lawsuits compared with other jurisdictions.

In Australia, free speech isn’t protected by the constitution, and a defendant such as a newspaper must prove that a statement is true. In the U.S., where the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to prove an alleged defamatory statement is false.

U.S. law broadly exempts social-media companies like Facebook from legal liability for what people post on the site, though some U.S. politicians have called for changes.

Michaelia Cash, Australia’s attorney general, outlined two mechanisms for people to raise concerns about comments made online.

One involved the social-media companies putting in place a complaints procedure that could lead to them disclosing details of users alleged to have made derogatory remarks following a complaint by any person who claimed to have been hurt by the remarks.

“In other words, unmask them with either their email address, their mobile phone number or other relevant details to enable that person to take a defamation action against them,” Ms. Cash said.

A second pathway would allow people to ask Australia’s federal court to order social-media companies to tell a user that a complaint has been made against them and that they need to delete the defamatory comments. Complainants could still seek users’ details to bring a defamation claim, she said.

Mr. Morrison said consultation on the proposed legislation would begin, and that it would likely be introduced to Parliament next year.

“The point here is we want the social-media companies to fix this,” Mr. Morrison said. “They have the wit, they have the technology, they have the innovation.”

 

Updated: 12-7-2021

Australia Set For Massive Shakeup To Crypto Regulations: Treasurer

The country will launch its biggest payments reform in 25 years, the treasurer said in an interview.

Australia will announce its biggest reform in the country’s payment systems in 25 years, including crypto, on Wednesday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

* In an attempt to bring rules for Australia’s payment systems up to date, the new regulations will “broaden the definition of services and products that can be regulated,” taking cryptocurrencies and digital assets “out of the shadows” and into a “world-leading” regulatory framework, Frydenberg said in an interview with 7NEWS Australia on Wednesday.

* Firms that buy and sell cryptocurrencies will have to be licensed to bring safety and security to users, the treasurer said. The government will also work out a licensing plan for crypto exchanges next year, the Australian Financial Review reported.

* The treasury will also be working with the central bank on a digital currency, according to Frydenberg.

* In October, an official from the Reserve Bank of Australia said that there is no strong case for a central bank digital currency in Australia, but that the central bank was ramping up its development to stay ahead of global competition.

* More than 800,000 Australians own some form of crypto assets, Frydenberg said. That figure is about 3% of the population, much lower than previous estimates based on online surveys.

* The treasurer’s proposed regulation will also take aim at “buy now, pay later” services. More than five million accounts for such services exist in Australia, he said.

* Australia’s Senate formed a committee to research crypto regulations in March, and the panel submitted a report to legislators on Oct. 20.

Australian Women Owning Crypto Has Doubled In 2021

The IRCI survey of 2,000 Aussies also found that 56.7% of the women surveyed said that they would enter the crypto market based on advice from family and friends.

A new survey shared with Cointelegraph has found that the proportion of Australian women who own crypto assets has doubled in the last year.

The 2021 Independent Reserve’s Cryptocurrency Index (IRCI) of 2000 Australians found that the number of women who currently or have previously invested in crypto rose from 10.3% in 2020 to 20% in 2021. The percentage of female Bitcoin owners also rose from 8.3% to 14.8%, according to the survey.

Independent Reserve is an Australian-based cryptocurrency exchange that was founded in 2013, it has more than 200,000 users.

Karen Cohen, deputy chair for the board of Blockchain Australia, said that more women have entered the crypto market this year as the asset class has continued to become a mainstream investment. Speaking to Cointelegraph, she said:

“I think that it tells you that investing in crypto is less risky and is just one of many different ways you can invest. I think it’s sort of giving the signal that if a bank thinks it’s okay, then you know it’s a safer place to invest.”

Cohen cited examples such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) adding crypto trading options to its app in early November.

Co-founder of Independent Reserve Adrian Przelozny added that “over time, as cryptocurrency investments become more acceptable and mainstream, the perceived risk also reduces.”

He added: “I think that as that happens, you’ll see more and more women enter the market.”

Research by Grayscale from 2019 shows that women tend to be more risk-averse investors, which is often given as a reason for the gender gap between female and male crypto investors.

The IRI also found that women were more likely to listen to family and friends about crypto. Of the women surveyed, 56.7% said that they would enter the crypto market based on advice from family and friends, as opposed to 42.2% of the men surveyed.

Cohen said, “A lot of women are getting referrals from their friends and family, so they’re getting a feeling a bit safer to get involved.”

On the other hand, 45.9% of men said they would consider entering the crypto market due to interest sparked by media coverage, compare to 41.8% of women surveyed.

Closing The Gender Gap

Cohen said that moving forward, she expects that total gender parity among crypto investors is still “a while away,” because it’s so entangled with gendered stereotypes and the way that women are brought up to understand risk and investment.

Przelozny agreed, saying that he couldn’t possibly speculate as to when the investment gap will close. He said: “As to when it becomes 50/50, I don’t know. But I think it’s definitely trending in the right direction.”

Cohen also said that as the Metaverse and blockchain gaming begins to dominate the crypto market, users can expect “the landscape to completely change again.”

“Is gaming more of a boy’s club than crypto?” she asked, concluding that “nobody really knows.”

In last year’s IRCI report, Cohen urged decision-makers in the crypto industry to include women in events and panel discussions, saying “we are what we see”.

The IRCI is an annual cross-sectional survey of over 2,000 Australians conducted by PureProfile. Independent Reserve says its sample was reflective of the country’s gender, age and geographic distribution.

Massive Jump In Number Of Australians Who Own Crypto

CEO of Independent Reserve Adrian Przelozny told Cointelegraph that he expects the trend to continue as crypto matures and becomes less volatile.

The 2021 Independent Reserve’s Cryptocurrency Index (IRCI) survey of more than 2,000 people found that the percentage of Australians surveyed who own or have owned crypto has reached 28.8%, up from 18.4% in 2020.

The results suggest that growth in the sector is being driven by the positive experience of those who own crypto, with 89% of those surveyed saying they have made money or broken even, up from 78% in 2020.

Independent Reserve CEO Adrian Przelozny told Cointelegraph that these results didn’t come as a surprise to him, due to an environment in which it has become “very difficult to get returns on investments.”

He stated that “cryptocurrencies have easily outperformed any other assets over the last 12 months,” before adding:

“I think it’s quite natural that more and more people get interested in an asset class that’s clearly outperforming the rest of the market.”

In October, Cointelegraph reported that Bitcoin (BTC) is the official best-performing asset class of 2021.

Przelozny said that he expects the trend to continue as crypto matures and becomes less volatile. He said that the “biggest ally” of cryptocurrency is that “the longer it’s around, the more accepted it becomes.”

“With time, I think you’ll see volatility and the perceived risk of this investment reduce.”

Of those surveyed by the IRCI who don’t currently own crypto, 28.6% said they would invest if there were better consumer protections in place. Another 26.6% said they’d buy crypto if industry regulation was improved.

Regulation Is Needed For Continued Growth

Przelozny said that “the sector still desperately needs regulation to catch up and provide greater security for both investors and cryptocurrency businesses.”

“I do think that once regulation comes on board, we’ll see a whole new class of investors into this space. And I think that’s what we’ve seen in other jurisdictions, like over in Singapore.”

Przelozny told Cointelegraph that he anticipates that older Aussies over 65 will make up the next big wave of investors as these regulatory issues are addressed.

“They’re looking for consumer protections from the government before they’re willing to take the plunge and enter the cryptocurrency market.”

Unsurprisingly, the 24- to 34-year-old age group was the most trusting of crypto, with 27.6% saying they bought in to get rich while disbelievers in the system are most likely to be found in the over 65 age group.

According to the IRCI, Bitcoin remains the most well-known and popular cryptocurrency, with 89.1% of Australians surveyed saying they’ve heard of it and 21.1% actually owning Bitcoin. The second most popular crypto asset is Ethereum, at 11% reported ownership, up from just 5% in 2020.

The IRCI is an annual cross-sectional survey of more than 2,000 Australians conducted by PureProfile. Independent Reserve says its sample was reflective of the country’s gender, age and geographic distribution.

Updated: 12-8-2021

Australian Government Gives Nod To 6 World-Leading Crypto Reforms

“What is clear is that if we embrace these developments, Australia has an enormous opportunity to capitalize on the convergence between finance and technology,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

The Australian government is seriously considering the rollout of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and has backed numerous forward-looking regulatory crypto proposals as part of a new “payments and crypto reform plan.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the reforms “will firmly place Australia among a handful of lead countries in the world.”

The reform plan is said to be the biggest shake-up of the Australian payments system since the 1990s, with part of the crypto-related groundwork set by the innovative proposals put forward by an Australian Senate Committee in September.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the government is in favor of six out of nine reforms proposed by the Senate Committee, including a licensing regime for crypto exchanges, laws to govern decentralized autonomous organizations, and a common access regime for new payments platforms.

Two proposals relating to tax and financial compliance have been referred to their respective government bodies for consideration, while the government has knocked back another proposal related to renewable energy Bitcoin (BTC) mining tax discounts.

Frydenberg outlined the government’s plans for crypto regulation, taxation and CBDCs in a speech on Wednesday at the Australia–Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC).

“What is clear is that if we embrace these developments, Australia has an enormous opportunity to capitalize on the convergence between finance and technology,” he said.

Concerning CBDCs, an unnamed senior government source told The Australian on Tuesday that a retail scale “RBA [Reserve Bank of Australia] backed Bitcoin or cryptocurrency” is currently being considered and will be a key element of the government’s regulatory reform on digital payments.

During His AICC Speech, Frydenberg Spoke Bullishly On The Crypto Asset Reform:

“For businesses, these reforms will address the ambiguity that can exist about the regulatory and tax treatment of crypto assets and new payment methods. In doing so, it will drive even more consumer interest, facilitate even more new entrants and enable even more innovation to take place.”

“For consumers, these changes will establish a regulatory framework to underpin their growing use of crypto assets and clarify the treatment of new payment methods,” he added.

One Senate committee proposal the government looks set to ignore is the 10% tax discount for Bitcoin miners who use renewable energy. Michael Harris, head of corporate development at local exchange Swyftx, told Cointelegraph:

“We think this was a political consideration. The reality is that it’s probably going to be difficult for any government to segregate out an industry like BTC mining from other energy consumers, however laudable the intention.”

However, Harris said that overall, the “noises coming out of government at the moment are promising,” as the government seems to have recognized the need to introduce consumer protection laws without stifling innovation.

“The devil will be in the detail, though, and we are especially keen to avoid a system that reduces customer choice by stacking the decks in favor of big, traditional financial players.”

Crypto-friendly Senator Andrew Bragg, who drove the recent crypto proposals, told Cointelegraph in a statement that Frydenberg’s crypto and fintech reform plan will put “Australia on the tech map”:

“Australia will be a world-leading crypto hub under the Treasurer’s plan. Australian consumers will also benefit from new consumer protection rules.”

“The world is watching Australia, which is now setting the global standard for crypto, payments and digital wallet reform,” he added.

Caroline Bowler, CEO of local crypto exchange BTC Markets, welcomed the reforms, calling them a “major step forward to upgrade Australia’s one-size-fits-all regulatory framework in real-time.”

“It’s great to see that the gaps in Australian regulation relating to digital financial products and the exchanges who support them are being finally addressed at the highest level of authority, and the Coalition Government is not shying away from the big issues surrounding crypto, payments and de-banking,” she said.

 

Updated: 12-29-2021

ASIC Reveals How It Infiltrated Crypto ‘Pump And Dump’ Telegram Groups

The Australian financial watchdog has revealed the details of how it took down ASX traders suspected of taking part in a coordinated Telegram pump-and-dump scheme.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has revealed the details of how it took down crypto “pump and dump” Telegram groups back in October.

A pump-and-dump scheme typically involves using social media to coordinate users to buy large amounts of a thinly traded token to inflate its price artificially. They then cash out with massive gains after other investors, who aren’t in on the scheme, succumb to FOMO and buy in on a momentum trade.

The new documents reveal that the ASIC has been taking counsel from finance academic and crypto researcher Talis Putnins since early October.

A 38-slide presentation by Putnins to ASIC investigators revealed that pump-and-dump schemes are cyclical, peaking back during 2018 and again in 2021. The presentation stated that they tend to “correlate with overall market sentiment and prices.”

According to the presentation, several factors have changed between 2018 and the time of publication, during October 2021. Over a period of six months in 2018, Putnins documented over 355 cases of crypto market manipulation.

He referenced the schemes’ “transparent intention to pump” and the absence of any “genuine attempt to ignite momentum.” The schemes are “completely out in the open for everyone to see,” the presentation noted.

The presentation detailed the Telegram group “Crypto Binance Trading | Signals & Pumps” Sept. 19 pump of fractional algorithmic stablecoin system, Frax Share (FXS), which saw a massive 90% on $65 million volume in less than one minute.

“With our volumes averaging 40 to 80 million $ per pump and peaks reaching up to 450% we are ready to announce our next big pump,” stated a Sept. 13 announcement in the group.

“Our main goal for this pump will be to make sure that every single member in our group makes a massive profit. We will also try reaching more than 100 million $ volume in the first few minutes with a very high % gain.”

What’s Behind Pump-And-Dump Schemes?

The presentation cited a perceived lack of legal risk, anonymity in forums and encryption as potential reasons for the groups, adding that there is a “perception that crypto is unregulated therefore pumps are legal.”

The new information was revealed in documents that The Australian newspaper was able to access through a freedom of information request. The Australian published the new information on Tuesday.

Last year, Putnins co-authored a paper titled “A New Wolf in Town? Pump-and-Dump Manipulation in Cryptocurrency Markets.”

The report concluded that crypto pump and dumps have created “extreme price distortions of 65 per cent on average, abnormal trading volumes in the millions of dollars, and large wealth transfers between participants.”

On Oct. 15, Cointelegraph reported that ASIC had been investigating schemes across crypto and traditional markets operated through social channels such as Twitter, Telegram and Aussie stock chat forum HotCopper.

At the time, a Telegram account named “ASIC” posted a message on the “ASX Pump Organisation” chat warning its 300 members that the watchdog was “monitoring this platform” and that its members were being investigated.

“Coordinated pumping of shares for profits can be illegal. We can see all trades and have access to trader identities. […] You run the risk of a criminal record, including fines of more than $1 million and prison time.”

Ultimate Resource On Australia's Involvement With Bitcoin

A spokesperson from the ASIC told Cointelegraph at the time: “Even where the activity relates to cryptocurrencies/products that may not be financial products under the Corporations Act, the pump-and-dump practice is concerning, as it can lead to investor losses and create unnecessary price volatility.”

Updated: 1-18-2022

FTX Announced As Naming Rights Sponsor Of Australian Blockchain Week 2022

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried says the partnership is a “watershed moment” as the Australian blockchain ecosystem continues to go mainstream.

FTX Trading Limited (FTX) will be the naming rights sponsor for Australian Blockchain Week 2022, which will run from March 21 to 25.

Blockchain Australia is the peak industry network in Australia, bringing together industry, academia and government to discuss the opportunities of blockchain technology.

Over 200 speakers across 75 events will present at Australian Blockchain Week, including FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

Launched in May 2019, FTX is a Bahamian-based cryptocurrency derivatives exchange. At the time of publication, it had a 24-hour trading volume of $1.41 billion, according to Coinranking.

Steve Vallas, Chief Executive Officer of Blockchain Australia, said the appointment comes at a “watershed moment” as the Australian blockchain ecosystem continues to go mainstream.

“Growing interest in blockchain technology from major financial institutions together with signs of increasing regulation for the industry mean this year’s event is being held at a critical time for all players in this market.”

Bankman-Fried said that the partnership comes as the first iteration of its focus on supporting the “long-term growth of the Australian market.”

“We look forward to contributing to discussions to advance the local industry, better safeguard and protect consumers, and enabling financial institutions to evolve and thrive in the crypto industry.”

Australian Blockchain week will come shortly after the businessman’s Jan. 11 address at the Asian Financial Forum in which he called on regulators to create a single framework for digital assets.

In December 2021, Bankman-Fried led FTX to be among the top 2021 unicorn companies, ranking 11th with a valuation of $25 billion.

The deal comes as the latest instance of international crypto exchanges paying big bucks to get their names in front of an Aussie audience. Yesterday, Singaporean crypto exchange Crypto.com agreed to pay $25 million to sponsor the Australian Football League.

Updated: 1-21-2022

Australia’s Plan To Create A Crypto Competitive Edge In 12 Steps

A recent Senate report on digital asset regulation is a pro-crypto statement of intent from the Australian government that the world can learn from.

In October 2021, the Senate Committee for Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre released its much-awaited recommendations for how cryptocurrency should be regulated. The 168-page final report boils down to 12 recommendations aimed at striking the right balance between creating legitimacy without stifling innovation.

This is a landmark report that demonstrates Australia’s clear efforts to put itself at the forefront of crypto investment globally.

The chair of the committee, Senator Andrew Bragg, believes that “Australia can be a leader in digital assets” and is confident that it can particularly “be competitive with Singapore, the UK and the US.”

Four Key Recommendations

First, the introduction of a range of new crypto-specific licenses and regulations. For too long, regulators around the world have been trying to put square pegs (cryptocurrency) into round holes (traditional financial regulation). This approach underestimates the fundamental differences that exist as well as the potential that digital assets have to transform the world.

This report acknowledges crypto’s potential and calls for a range of bespoke cryptocurrency licenses in Australia. It recommends a specific market licensing regime for digital exchanges as well as a bespoke custody regime for digital assets.

Details will still need to be fleshed out but if we get these frameworks right, then this will create the legitimacy that the sector needs to take off into the mainstream.

Second, the introduction of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) entity type into Australian corporate law. This recommendation is a very big deal, as it shows that the Australian government is open to decentralized finance (DeFi) as well as crypto innovation. Wyoming is the only region I have heard of that has something like this in place, so this could put Australia on the front foot.

If approved, DAOs could provide a unique utility that may bring the Australian economy a decade ahead into a decentralized future. However, this will also be the hardest thing for the Committee to get approved, as changes to the Corporations Act are infamously rare in Australia. If anyone can do it, it’s Senator Bragg though.

Third, improved tax rules for crypto-to-crypto transactions. Recent Finder research shows that over 17% of Australians own cryptocurrency — the third-highest rate of adoption in the world. However, this growing group has had to grapple with tax rules that are confusing at best.

Historically, crypto-to-crypto transfers have been considered a capital gain by the Australian Tax Office. The new recommendation calls for tax only when there has been “a clearly definable capital gain or loss.” Again, the devil will be in the detail on this one but active Australian crypto users could be the real winners.

Ultimate Resource On Australia's Involvement With Bitcoin
Fourth, new tax incentives to encourage green crypto mining. The Committee recommends a 10% company tax discount for crypto mining businesses that use renewable energy. This looks like a smart move to support two high-growth Australian industries: renewable energy and cryptocurrency.

This will be especially important as the Committee tries to get these recommendations signed off against a backdrop of COP26 and rising concerns about climate change.

Three Tough Issues

* Timelines for turning recommendations into law. Right now, these are all just recommendations, and are worth as much as the political will that exists to enact them. As with other countries, politics in Australia moves slowly and this will be no different. Senator Andrew Bragg is bullish that he can get all the recommendations passed in 12 months and I back him to get it done.

His cause could also be supported by a growing view that crypto innovation could be a vote-winner with young Australians in a looming federal election, as nearly a third of Generation Z already own cryptocurrency.

* Implications for crypto businesses during the pre-reform period. If it takes a year to introduce new laws then there are still questions about what crypto businesses can do in the meantime. Many submissions called for a “safe harbor” against regulation until rules had been finalized but this was not explicitly recommended by the Committee.

However, the direction of travel has been set and there is clear support for crypto innovation and an acknowledgment that new rules and licenses are needed. I would be surprised if we saw much in the way of regulatory action until then.

* Specifics for the licensing and tax proposals. Many of these recommendations were light on detail and it looks like the Australian Treasury will now lead on these matters. The industry will be very interested to know what the requirements for being a custodian or digital exchange will be, particularly when it comes to capital requirements.

If there’s too much regulatory burden, then businesses will move offshore. Likewise, consumers will need more clarity on what a “clearly definable capital gain or loss” is for tax purposes. In many ways, the work starts now.

Learnings For Governments Around The World

The crypto industry is ready to talk policy. It’s fair to say that this Select Committee was inundated with engagement from crypto businesses, academics, peak bodies and regulators. More than 100 written submissions contributed and there were three full days of public hearings.

It’s not often that an industry is asking for more regulation but that is what is happening here. The crypto industry around the world wants clarity and is ready to have a conversation about policy.

Broad reviews are more effective than siloed approaches. One key reason that this consultation had so much engagement was that it looked at the digital asset industry holistically rather than from one angle only.

A problem we’re seeing around the world is regulators interested in looking at crypto assets from their specific regulatory view, but broad innovation shouldn’t be assessed through such a narrow lens. This consultation managed to look at the industry holistically while still getting into the specific issues. I welcome more reviews like it around the world.

Bespoke digital asset policy approaches will be needed. Digital assets have hit critical velocity and the revolution can no longer be ignored. Piecemeal changes to legacy financial services policy will not work. We need policymakers around the world to work together to create bespoke policies that are fit-for-purpose.

Coinbase captures this well in pillar one of its Digital Asset Policy Proposal (DAPP). The DAPP calls for “a new framework for how we regulate digital assets” that “will ensure that innovation can occur in ways that are not hampered by the difficulty of transitioning from our legacy market structure.” These recommendations in Australia are an attempt at doing exactly that which many can learn from.

What is clear is that the world is changing. This Senate Committee in Australia should be applauded for taking a holistic approach and recommending bespoke policy instruments. It’s time for policymakers around the world to follow suit and take a broad look at their approach to digital assets.

 

Updated: 3-2-2022

Aussie Advisory Committee Lists Key Factors For Easing Crypto Adoption

The federal advisory suggests exploring four key areas to support a safer adoption for crypto in Australia and dampen cybersecurity threats.

The Cyber Security Industry Advisory Committee, the Australian cybersecurity advisor, highlights various crypto-related opportunities for the government to undertake as it prepares for the global mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies.

The study, released by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs and titled Exploring Cryptocurrencies, cites the rise in crypto adoption as the country undergoes a rapid transformation to an advanced digital economy:

“There is a need for regulatory settings that provide greater clarity and confidence about how the cryptocurrency market can operate in Australia.”

The federal advisory recommends the exploration of four key areas that can “help ensure the safe adoption of cryptocurrencies in Australia” — minimum cyber security standards, capability (awareness through specialized training), the follow-the-lead approach and operator transparency.

With a primary goal of reducing the cybersecurity threats aimed at cryptocurrencies, the committee recommended mandated minimum cyber security standards for crypto exchanges and Australian businesses that hold cryptocurrencies.

Crypto exchange Kraken’s managing director for Australia Jonathon Miller believes that “minimum standards for security, and greater resourcing to fight sophisticated cybercrime will go a long way to protecting investors.”

In addition, the advisory suggested an increased focus on increased public awareness via specialist training on the available crypto opportunities and corresponding cybercrimes and threats. It recommends a “follow-the-lead” approach wherein Australia learns and implements international best practices in the crypto space.

Highlighting the inherent pseudo-anonymity of crypto, the committee calls for increased transparency around registered crypto exchanges and blockchain-based companies:

“Educational programs with accurate, consistent messaging will allow investors to better understand both the investment and cybersecurity risks while helping to demystify cryptocurrencies for all Australians.”

In addition to the recommendations, the Cyber Security Industry Advisory Committee highlighted a number of opportunities that accompany mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies. The study reveals blockchain’s disruptive potential to tokenize financial assets including loans, carbon credits and real estate.

Moreover, accepting cryptocurrencies “enables businesses to tap into a new set of customers.” Finally, the study reveals that offsetting carbon emissions is one of the biggest opportunities as crypto makes it way into the mainstream.

In a dialogue with Cointelegraph, co-founder and CEO of Voyager Digital Stephen Ehrlich opined why patience is the key for crypto businesses:

“In 2021, Bitcoin outperformed all major asset classes, one-upping crude oil, NASDAQ, the S&P 500 and gold. Moreover, the number of “hodlers” is trending in a positive direction, signaling crypto’s long-term viability.”

Citing economic equality as one of the main advantages, Ehrlich also said that crypto gives access to investor segments who missed out on past booms.

 

Updated: 3-20-2022

Australian Senator Proposes Landmark Digital Services Act

The new legislative package will address issues in crypto custody, taxation and DAO operations in order to protect consumers against bad actors in the space.

Australian Senator Andrew Bragg opened the Australia Blockchain Week conference with a bombshell legislative proposal that he hopes will lay the groundwork for a new Digital Asset ecosystem down under.

The proposed Digital Services Act (DSA) legislative package calls for reforms in crypto market licensing, custody, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), debanking and taxes. Senator Bragg said in his address at the conference that he expects the legislation in the Act to “protect [crypto] consumers against malicious operators.”

Senator Bragg outlined the four main pillars that the DSA is guided by. He explained that the DSA would be technologically neutral, have broad and flexible principles, be regulated by a Minister rather than a bureaucratic agency and use government resources and personnel. In his view, such guidance will help Australia show that the country is ready to take a greater role in the crypto industry.

“This will show Australia is open for business and things are clear and clean.”

The Senator also took on DAOs, challenging various branches of the government to take them seriously. He went as far as calling them “an existential threat to the tax base” under current rules.

According to data published by the Parliament of Australia, the company tax accounts for the second-largest source of revenue for the government behind income tax. However, DAOs are not taxed as companies.

To that, Senator Bragg said that his country’s “reliance on company tax is unsustainable” if an increasing number of organizations become a DAO. As a result, the DSA would task the government with creating a framework for creating standards for DAOs without stifling their core principles.

The standards would essentially ensure consumers have access to audit, assurance and disclosure services from DAOs that help them distinguish between retail and wholesale organizations. Senator Bragg called for the Treasury to address those issues while also “leaving the field open for DAOs to continue to live up to their name.”

 

Head of corporate development at Australian crypto exchange Swyftx Michael Harris is in favor of the government instating higher standards for the domestic crypto industry. He told Cointelegraph today that exchanges have nothing to fear from higher standards because ”Most Australian exchanges already take their duty of care to customers very seriously.”

Harris added that the land down under should be leading the developed world in crypto regulation because of its high rate of adoption. A survey from pollster Finder found that 22.9% of Australians surveyed owned crypto from October to December 2021. Harris continued to state that:

“We see this as an important step forward. Australia has one of the largest crypto adoption rates in the developed world. It makes complete sense for us to lead on regulation.”

One of the major concerns in the crypto market lately is its use by individuals and nations to circumvent global economic sanctions. There is currently a debate raging in the United States Senate about whether the Russian government is able to keep its military operation in Ukraine funded with the help of cryptocurrency.

Blockchain tracking firm Elliptic found on March 15 that some sanctioned individuals are holding crypto, but Senator Bragg stated that the Aussie government was powerless under the current Digital Currency Exchange (DCE) laws to serve retribution on such offenders. The DCE’s lack of jurisdiction served as motivation for making the new proposals to prevent sanctioned individuals from taking advantage of lax crypto laws, adding:

“The reality is we don’t live in a libertarian nirvana. We cannot have regulatory arbitrage.”

 

Updated: 3-21-2022

SBF Opens Aussie Blockchain Week As Gov’t Says We’re ‘Open For Business’

Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, said the world is “very much” looking for a crypto hub in APAC, adding that other locations “haven’t played out.”

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried gave the opening keynote at this year‘s Blockchain Week, with the events of day one held at the headquarters of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Addressing the event remotely from the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried used his keynote to announce the launch of FTX Australia, localizing one of the world‘s largest crypto exchanges by volume. FTX is the naming rights sponsor for the event.

“This is something that has been in the works for a number of months, and it’s been a really high priority for us as a company.”

According to Bankman-Fried, the launch in Australia is part of a larger move for the exchange to be licensed and regulated in as many countries as possible.

He said that the world is “very much” looking for a regional hub in APAC for crypto, stating that other locations in the region “haven’t played out as expected”.

“I think that has really left an opening for someplace to kind of grab that and service that region,” he added.

Australia is looking to market itself as a crypto hub, with comments from the Federal Minister for financial services and the digital economy Senator Jane Hume, stating that the country is “open for business” when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Giving her address at the conference, Hume said that the crypto ecosystem is the new frontier, adding:

“If you want to be a pioneer on the virtual frontier of innovation, Australia is open for business. As the Minister for the digital economy and the Minister for financial services, I personally am backing you.”

The comments echoed those of her colleague Senator Andrew Bragg who provided the opening address to the conference. Bragg used his speech to announce the proposal of legislation to reform regulations for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), de-banking, taxes and licensing for crypto firms in Australia.

Comparing crypto to the internet boom in the late 1990s, Hume stated that the digital asset economy could add around 2.6% to Australia’s GDP and create around 200,000 new jobs by 2030. He warned that Australia could “miss out” if the incorrect regulatory framework is applied.

“We want to encourage innovation in crypto assets, because innovation is what creates prosperity, it’s what creates jobs and economic growth.”

“There are so many innovative use cases for crypto assets, many of which are now not at all far away from becoming mainstream,” she stated.

According to the latest opinion poll, the current government is sitting a full 10 points behind the opposition on a two-party preferred basis. A looming federal election in May might jeopardize the plans of Senators Bragg and Hume, but a pro-crypto stance could be the governments‘ strategy for re-election, swaying younger voters toward the coalition.

Other speakers of note at day one of the five-day event Blockchain Week include CEO of Crypto.com Kris Marszalek, CEO of Binance AU Leigh Travers, Brooks Entwistle, senior vice president of global customer success and managing director of APAC and MENA at Ripple Brooks Entwistle and co-founder of Ethereum Joseph Lubin.

Updated: 3-23-2022

The Dreaming: Indigenous Australians Are Making An Embassy In The Metaverse

An Australian Indigenous group released a discussion paper on creating an Indigenous Cultural Embassy and is planning to enter the Metaverse.

One of the world’s oldest living cultures is meeting the world’s newest emerging tech as Indigenous Australians begin to take part in the Metaverse.

“First movers need to be there. Indigenous Australians have a culture about dreaming. So, we need to do it.” Professor Vanessa Lee-Ah Mat, a cultural broker focused on wellbeing through Australian Indigenous traditional culture, told Cointelegraph.

Lee-Ah Mat and co-founder, cultural brokers, artist and lawyer Bibi Barba and lawyers Joni Pirovich and Angelina Gomez, publicly released a discussion paper this week entitled “First Nations Culture in the Metaverse.”

The group is seeking support to set up a pilot project to achieve the aims in the discussion paper and create a First Nations Cultural Embassy in the Metaverse.

Lee-Ah Mat of the Yupungathi and Meriam Nations and Bibi Barba of the Darumbal, Biri Gubi, Gadigal and Yuin Nations are in the process of setting up an independent entity with First Nations ownership and governance to negotiate with relevant stakeholders and establish and run the operations of this pilot project.

In November 2021, Barbados launched its embassy in the Metaverse. In February, another Indigenous Australian group, the Sovereign Yidindji Government in Queensland — a first for the country — launched its own digital currency as a way to further foster self-sovereignty that it has claimed since 2014 and plan its own policy planning priorities.

“This Australian Indigenous Cultural Embassy is seen as an MVP,” said Lee-Ah mat. But, how do indigenous cultures view the Metaverse?

Indigenous Culture And The Metaverse

At first, the connection seems tenuous: An ancient traditional culture deeply connected to the natural world and to the land and dreaming connected with a new virtual world built on computers with pixelated imagery, avatars and imagined places. But, the link is clear and logical.

“The virtual world does impact the physical world. The Metaverse mirrors the earth, using the earth as the mirror in the gaming realm. The virtual world plays out features from the physical world,” explained Lee-Ah Mat. These worlds are connected.

Indigenous Culture Is Built On The Dreaming, As Lee-Ah Mat Explained:

“The dreaming is an inadequate English translation. The dreaming is a non-static and non-linear past, present and future and integrated in the ground of the earth itself. Part of the kinship system and lore, pivotal to identity.”

She argued further that the Metaverse is a future deeply connected to the present, stating that “the process of creation gives identity and connection to people. During creation, the ancestors created sacred worlds between the land and the living. From birth, we are taught to connect with the physical and spiritual worlds, past the present, future — The Metaverse is a future realm.”

So, the Metaverse, according to Lee-Ah Mat, is a “new paradigm of digital living, which currently lacks social structures but impacts the real world.” Indigenous lore explains that past, present and emerging futures are connected. Lee-Ah Mat believes that the Metaverse is an emerging spirituality and meeting people must have a presence there as a symbol of welcome and recognition.

Why An Embassy? Native Land Title In The Real World

In Australia, the legal concept of “Terra nullius,” or an empty land before European settlement, has meant no native title land rights and no treaty with indigenous people. Lengthy legal land rights battles have ensued over the past few decades.

Australia is the only Western country without a treaty with its indigenous people.

So, for Lee-Ah Mat, it is important to “understand custodianship and past and current approaches to native title. Regarding land claims in the physical world, there are 240 years of catch-up. Part of the motivation is cultural healing.

It’s also about identity and lost sovereignty for our culture. There is no playbook for empowering indigenous communities. New technologies can help us try to leapfrog a legal process.”

Having a cultural embassy for the group is about “using the future to re-write the past. It’s about leapfrogging the political process and making the cultural process part of that negotiation from the beginning — change from the get-go.

Crypto allows us to be part of the conversation again by adopting the newest digital tech,” Lee-Ah Mat said.

A suicide prevention specialist, Lee-Ah Mat is also building an AI-powered application to measure depression, connecting to the Aboriginal community’s health services. She believes “economic empowerment in indigenous communities can reduce suicide.” She is zealous about using tech to help her people.

Virtual Signaling In The Virtual World

Part of this project is a protest against existing political recognition — or lack thereof — as well as a statement of support in the Metaverse. According to Lee-Ah Mat, it’s about “creating a learning environment as the virtual land grab is on. So, someone can’t buy an Indigenous sacred site or natural wonder Uluru in the Metaverse and not understand our spirituality and dreaming connected to that site.”

The discussion paper writes that “Virtual land that ‘mirrors’ the earth is being sold without acknowledgment or consent from existing land or Native Title owners.” Further:

“Virtual land that is being created as part of imaginary worlds is also being sold with neither recognition of the cultural significance that ownership of land entails for First Nations peoples, nor acknowledgement of the spiritual connection that exists between a person, the virtual land and their participation in it.”

“Indigenous culture has intellectual property,” argued Lee-Ah Mat.

The educational aspect of the cultural embassy is about teaching early adopters. “Gaming treasures and loot could be breaching culture and lore. NFTs could be totems in first nations cultures.” The discussion paper argued:

“Virtual land is being created as a basis for privileged and best access for virtual games, work, leisure and learning environments. The ‘virtual land grab’ is on with companies and venture capital firms buying plots of virtual land ahead of the possible but largely unknown commercial opportunities and without any recognition or strategy to ensure equitable ownership of land.

Play-to-earn gaming and immersive metaverse experiences present a new paradigm of digital living, which, more than ever, may have something to learn and benefit from rich Indigenous culture about identity and kinship.”

Among its aims, the discussion paper stated that “Kinship is about having social responsibility to yourself, each other, and about inclusion within the physical and spiritual worlds.” There are many references to an “equitable metaverse.”

For example, images of deceased people should not be viewed in Aboriginal culture as a mark of respect. So, how does this play out with nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and avatars of deceased Indigenous Australians? “We need these conversations in the Metaverse to discuss cultural sensitivities, hence the embassy idea.”

Crypto Metaverse versus Meta’s Metaverse

There is obviously the danger of racism and sexism in the Metaverse. Nonfungible tokens, for example, have been accused of being colorblind. Therefore, Lee-Ah Mat says Indigenous Australians and other minority groups need to “have a say in the processes and protocols of the Metaverse.”

But, while centralized platforms like Facebook can at least claim to police inappropriate behavior, how this plays out in the Metaverse remains to be seen.

Lee-Ah Mat said that “in the Metaverse, we run the danger of recreating a system not working in the physical world, but with a cultural embassy we can have a presence.”

She stated that they are only looking at decentralized Metaverse platforms due to a perceived kinship with crypto people and ideologies because “we don’t want to be playing catch up as governments begin to regulate the Metaverse.”

“Decentralization already existed in indigenous cultures, as cultural lore is already decentralized and distributed to all of the people. The kinship structure is decentralized,” she said.

Next Steps

The project is currently in the design phase with a hexagonal dome cultural embassy providing “multiple doors for many conversations.” They have received offers to donate some plots of land and hope to have virtual embassies on Metaverse platforms like Decentraland and the Sandbox.

They are also looking at a special purpose decentralized autonomous organization designed to run the group and operate the planned Cultural Embassy missions.

“Blockchain is about transparency and trust, as well as creating imaginary worlds. With no recognition of cultural significance, land or indigenous culture, there is a risk of repeating the mistakes of the past,” noted Lee-Ah Mat.

“Indigenous lore on invitations is to treat someone else’s land as if it were your own land. Imagine if we could make that part of the Metaverse.”

 

Updated: 5-4-2022

Aussie Crypto ‘Finfluencers’ Face Tough New Legal Restrictions

The Australian securities regulator is taking a stand against financial influencers whom they believe to be bamboozling the general public with misinformation about crypto.

New warnings from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on appropriate conduct for financial influencers could have a dramatic impact on the local crypto industry.

ASIC’s recent Information Sheet outlines the traps influencers and the companies that hire them could fall into while wittingly or unwittingly promoting financial products. The penalties for failing to heed ASIC’s warnings could lead to millions of dollars in fines for corporations and up to five years in prison for individuals.

Although it does not specifically mention crypto influencers, the guidelines certainly apply to them as cryptocurrency investing services are seen as financial products.

To those financial influencers or “finfluencers” who are not sure whether their brand is in violation of the law, ASIC advises them to “Think about your content carefully and whether you are providing unlicensed financial services.”

One point of confusion in the new rules concerns exactly what constitutes promotion as opposed to an innocuous informing of financial products. Financial blogger from Strong Money Dave Gow wrote on March 29 that “Writing almost anything could influence someone to invest or use any financial product.”

Gow’s assessment is based on the somewhat nebulous distinction ASIC has made between objective facts about a financial product and the way in which influencers may present them. It states:

“If you present factual information in a way that conveys a recommendation that someone should (or should not) invest in that product or class of products, you could breach the law by providing unlicensed financial product advice.”

Australian Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg believes there is an incongruence between the new ASIC guidelines and how crypto is regulated in his country. He believes that under current laws, the crypto industry should be exempted from these new restrictions. He told Cointelegraph in an email:

“ASIC’s current policy applies the law to crypto to the extent that digital assets fall within the definition of a financial product. Crypto is currently unregulated and not a financial product… I believe we can do more.”

Senator Bragg is a proponent of clearer crypto regulations, and recently introduced an ambitious new proposal concerning decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) at Australia Blockchain Week last month.

As someone who may now be considered an unlicensed finfluencer, Gow takes exception to restrictions on what they now may do, which is make any sort of recommendation.

He added that the rule limits influencers to simply “parroting what you can read elsewhere” and harms the investor knowledge base. He stated, “How does that help you wade through the sea of information and nonsense out there?”

As part of Australia’s Corporations Act, individual influencers must beware of how they promote financial products, while corporations must also keep a close watch on their hired influencers to ensure no rules are broken. The commission offers several case studies that provide a context that could help identify whether an individual or company is promoting financial services.

 

Updated: 5-7-2022

CBA‘s Plans To Expand Crypto Services To 6.5M Users Delayed By Red Tape

One of Australia’s biggest banks is still wading through a sea of red tape spun by local financial regulators before launching its crypto products to all of its retail users.

Financial regulators are standing in the way of expanded crypto services on Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) mobile application. In an Australian first, the bank aims to grant all of its 6.5 million users access to cryptocurrency services.

The CBA’s crypto products started a pilot of the services late last year, after which it hoped to open up to all of the users of its app. However, it now appears to be moving toward a second pilot. The Australia Financial Review (AFR) reported on Wednesday that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has tied up the launch with red tape.

ASIC objects to the launch on the basis of consumer protections regarding the target market and product disclosures. CBA has been working with ASIC and several other regulatory bodies within the Australian government in order to launch the services.

Speaking at the Australian Financial Review Cryptocurrency Summit on Wednesday, ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour explained her commission’s recent focus on crypto despite arguments that it falls outside ASIC‘s purview. She said that although crypto assets are not necessarily financial products that the commission can regulate, it was concerned that:

“Consumers may be investing in an environment where they are not afforded the same level of protection that applies to financial products and services.”

Fighting back against new guidelines from ASIC that prohibit much of the work financial influencers do, Senator Andrew Bragg stated that ASIC’s application of rules for financial products cannot be applied to crypto assets because cryptocurrency is not a financial product under Australian law.

In her speech, Armour commented on ASIC’s ability to truly regulate crypto assets “depends on whether they fit within the legal framework for financial products and services,” which she says is “a matter for Parliament.”

Armour Added That She Sees “Real Benefits Of Innovation Being Within Our Regulatory Regime,” But Cautioned That:

“There are a bunch of rules there that you need to follow.”

The announcement of the CBA’s intention to launch crypto services created a buzz last November, as it was the first of the country’s “big four” banks to do so. Blockchain Australia CEO Steve Vallas told Cointelegraph that the move would be “extraordinarily important.”

To make the product a reality, the CBA partnered with offshore crypto exchange Gemini and blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. Once fully launched, the product will include Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC).

Updated: 5-8-2022

Aussie Opposition Under Fire As Election Looms: ‘7 Words Is Not A Crypto Policy’

As a national election looms, the focus is shifting toward crypto policy, which critics say the Opposition party lacks.

Australia’s opposition Labor party is facing criticism over its lack of formal policy regarding the cryptocurrency industry just days before a national election is expected to be called.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, from the Liberal Party, is expected to fire the starter‘s pistol for a Federal election this weekend. However, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) is well ahead in the polls at this stage and its crypto policies are less than comprehensive.

With at least 18% of Australians having invested in crypto at some point, according to new figures from Gemini, cryptocurrency is becoming an election issue that cannot be ignored.

Crypto venture capitalist Mark Carnegie said at the Australian Financial Review Cryptocurrency Summit this week that he believes crypto should be a key talking point for the election candidates. “The idea that the Labor Party does not have a policy about what we’re doing about this, it just shows you the failure of leadership,” he said

Shadow Minister for financial services Stephen Jones pushed back against the appraisal and said that if the ALP won, it would consider crypto in a wider overhaul of digital payments such as Apple and Google‘s wallets.

“The broad principles we would take to crypto regulation is safety and transparency […] That inevitably leads to greater regulation of exchanges.”

Jones also said the ALP would look to include cryptocurrency as a financial product, which would bring it under the purview of the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Responding to the headline of an AFR report on the matter Senator Andrew Bragg tweeted: “7 words is not a crypto policy.”

Senator Bragg headed up an Australian Senate Committee inquiry last year that recommended broad and sweeping reforms in crypto legislation.

In December, the government announced it was in favor of six out of nine reformas including a licensing regime for crypto exchanges, laws to govern decentralized autonomous organizations and a common access regime for new payments platforms.

It is unclear whether the ALP will seek to embrace the proposed reforms if it wins. Jones did not respond to a request for comment from Cointelegraph, but an update will follow if he does.

Senator Bragg believes the Opposition is ill-equipped to handle the crypto industry. He told Cointelegraph on Friday that “Simply put, the Opposition doesn’t have a policy on cryptocurrency.”

“Labor has no serious agenda for digital assets other than a few throwaway lines. The Australian people have been given no clue about Labor’s crypto policy. It’s consistent with their economic plan which is no plan.”

Senator Bragg added that the ALP‘s lack of clear direction for the crypto industry meant that the country could begin to fall behind other countries vying for skilled workers in the crypto industry.

“Australia risks losing investment and talent to other countries unless we act quickly. The Coalition’s policy puts us ahead of the race, the ALP’s policy void means Australia will lose out.”

He said that his party’s plan includes holding consultations with industry stakeholders before making any final decisions, but that his cohort is “ready to follow through” with action. “We want a regime for markets and custody, a board of tax review, and a token mapping exercise. All of these programs are currently underway,” he said.

Rather than treating crypto as a financial product, the Liberal plan appears to take an educate-then-incubate approach toward crypto policy.

A top-down approach toward regulating emerging or innovative markets has always been questioned by entrepreneurs, as pointed out by Cointelegraph‘s Max Parasol last October.

Updated: 5-13-2022

Australia Asks Solomon Islands To Abandon China Security Pact

Australian minister visits Honiara to voice concerns over pact that could allow Chinese warships to dock in Pacific nation.

Australia made an 11th-hour attempt to scupper a planned security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China, urging the archipelago nation to lean on Pacific neighbors for its security needs.

On Wednesday, Australian Minister for the Pacific Zed Seselja met with Solomon Islands officials, including Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, in the capital Honiara to request that they not proceed with a deal that could allow China to dock warships there. Two of Australia’s top intelligence officials met with Mr. Sogavare in Honiara last week.

“We have asked Solomon Islands respectfully to consider not signing the agreement and to consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with our region’s security frameworks,” Mr. Seselja said.

Mr. Sogavare couldn’t be reached for comment. He recently told the country’s Parliament that officials were ready to sign the pact with China, while rejecting criticism that it risked fueling tensions in the region.

A draft of the security agreement that circulated online last month alarmed the U.S. and Australia, among others, because it could allow China to dock vessels in the Solomon Islands and use its forces to protect the safety of Chinese citizens and major projects.

The Pacific region, which contains more than a dozen small island nations and territories, is a strategically important area. It has major shipping lanes and fisheries. It is also home to military bases of Western powers, such as in Guam, a remote U.S. territory.

Security experts say a pact between China and the Solomon Islands—home to about 690,000 people on a land area slightly smaller than the state of Maryland—could have far-reaching strategic implications, including raising the specter of heightened military tension in the Pacific.

Australia recently accused the Chinese navy of shining a military-grade laser at a surveillance plane, the latest escalation of tensions between the two nations over issues such as trade, cybersecurity and political interference.

Australian officials insist that Pacific nations should oversee the security needs of the region. Tom Udall, the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, said on Wednesday he had a sense that Pacific countries were capable of handling their own security.

Security experts fear China could seek to build on any agreement. The Chinese Embassy in Australia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Australia is especially concerned about the possible rotation of Chinese vessels in the Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday. “That is a serious issue that we will continue to press,” he told reporters.

The U.S. is concerned that the presence of China’s security forces would fuel local, regional and international concerns over Beijing’s military reach in the Pacific.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, visiting the region in February, said the U.S. plans to open an embassy in the Solomon Islands, part of a broader strategy to invest more deeply in the Pacific islands, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Mr. Seselja’s 24-hour visit to the Solomon Islands reflects Australia’s continuing concern over the planned pact. After Mr. Morrison on Sunday called an election for next month, Australia’s government entered a so-called caretaker period, during which it is unusual for ministers to travel abroad.

The Solomon Islands is pursuing a closer relationship with China because it doesn’t expect traditional partners such as Australia to meet all of its security needs, Mr. Sogavare has said. The nation has no intention of stoking geopolitical struggles in the region and needs support in tackling major challenges, such as climate change, he said.

He highlighted violent protests in November that he said were an attempt to bring down his government and led to the burning of several buildings, including in districts of Honiara where recent Chinese migrants own businesses.

Australia sent a peacekeeping force of more than 100 federal police and defense personnel to help quell the unrest. A month later, the Solomon Islands accepted China’s offer of riot equipment and six police liaison officers to train its own police force.

Mr. Sogavare said in an address to parliament last month that he felt the Solomon Islands was being “branded as unfit” to manage its own security arrangements, and that he found it insulting.

Mr. Morrison said on Wednesday that he respects the sovereignty of the Solomon Islands. “What we have been doing is ensuring that they are fully aware of the risks and the security matters that are not only of concern to Australia, but islands, Pacific nations, across the Pacific,” he said.

The Solomon Islands has no intention of asking China to build a military base in the country, a three-hour plane ride from Australia’s northeast coast, Mr. Sogavare said on March 29. Australia’s Mr. Seselja on Wednesday highlighted that statement and said it was welcomed by Australian officials.

 

Updated: 5-19-2022

Australia’s First Bitcoin ETF To Be Listed Next Week

Cosmos Asset Management’s Bitcoin ETF will be listed on the Cboe trading platform.

Cosmos Asset Management’s Bitcoin ETF, Australia’s first bitcoin exchange-traded fund, will be listed on the Cboe equities trading platform next week, Australian Financial Review reported on Tuesday.

* ASX Clear, the clearing house at the center of Australian capital markets, has confirmed it has four market participants that will cover initial margin requirements of 42%.

* A notice will be sent to market participants on Wednesday, the newspaper said, citing Hamish Treleaven, ASX’s chief risk officer.

* That will allow the product to start trading on April 27. The Cosmos fund invests in crypto through the Purpose Bitcoin ETF that listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange last November.

* There is speculation of $1 billion in inflows when the ETF goes live in Australia next week, the newspaper reported.

* Cosmos has two existing products, including the Global Digital Miners Access ETF, which trades on Cboe Australia with net assets of $2.1 million, and the unlisted Bitcoin Wholesale Access Fund.

* ASX Clear’s approval for approving the Cosmos Bitcoin ETF may pave the way for the National Stock Exchange of Australia to begin listing bitcoin ETFs.

 

Updated: 5-20-2022

Australia’s First Bitcoin ETF Could Attract $1 Billion After Launch Next Week

Australian investors will be able to trade its first Bitcoin spot ETF starting next week when the Cosmos Asset Management Bitcoin ETF launches on ASX Clear.

Financial regulators have greenlit Australia’s first Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) to begin trading on April 27, and the Australian Financial Review reports it could see up to $1 billion in inflows.

An ETF is a regulated exchange-traded fund that allows investors to benefit from the price of Bitcoin without needing to own any coins themselves directly.

Cosmos Asset Management beat out local contenders VanEck, BetaShares and EFT Securities to issue Australia’s first Bitcoin ETF. Each firm has been in the running to close out regulatory approvals since at least March, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Cosmos Asset Management Bitcoin ETF will be listed on CBOE Australia, with approval from the Australia Securities Exchange (ASX) Clear capital markets clearinghouse. Approval was made after Cosmos landed the minimum of four market participants to support the 42% margin requirements needed to cover risk, according to an article published by AFR on Tuesday.

The Cosmos Bitcoin ETF offers indirect exposure to spot Bitcoin investing through the Canadian Purpose Bitcoin ETF.

Kurt Grumelart, trader at Australian wealth management firm Zerocap, called the ETF approval “exciting” and commented that it “validates further institutional adoption” following the record-breaking launch of the Betashares CRYP fund that invests in crypto-exposed United States Shares. On its launch in November 2021, the fund saw $10 million of net inflows within the first ten minutes.

Grumelart Expects The New Bitcoin ETF To Be Similarly Successful:

“The event marks a large step forward for Australia and mainstream acceptance of the crypto industry as a whole.”

Grumelart predicted that a successful launch will lead to an influx of other players. “If overseas markets are any indication, it is likely that a successful launch will lead to a host of listings for crypto asset based funds outside of Bitcoin,” he said

This will be the second crypto-related ETF from Cosmos since last year when the firm issued its Global Digital Miners Access ETF.

Australian regulators have been working to hammer down clear-cut rules for the crypto industry over the past year. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) wants more authority over the industry, but Senator Andrew Bragg thinks that is inappropriate until cryptocurrency is recognized as a financial asset under Australian law.

Grumelart Said He Believes Clarifying The Rules Will Aid The Development Of The Industry.

“As the new ASIC regulations come out governing crypto assets, we expect greater clarity for local custodians and service providers, opening up this as an avenue within the coming year.”

 

Updated: 5-21-2022

Australia’s Financial Regulator Aims To Implement Crypto Regulation By 2025

To this end, APRA plans to conduct consultations on requirements for the financial treatment of crypto-assets in 2023.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has laid out a policy roadmap for the implementation of regulation for financial entities engaging in activity with crypto-assets.

Australia’s financial regulator set a tentative goal of 2025 for its framework to be effective, in a letter by Chair Wayne Byres on Thursday (https://www.apra.gov.au/crypto-assets-risk-management-expectations-and-policy-roadmap).

To this end, APRA plans to conduct consultations on requirements for the financial treatment of crypto-assets, expected to be undertaken in 2023.

Regulation of stablecoins is also being considered by incorporating them into the existing framework for “store-value facilities,” a broad term for any non-cash facilities in which customers pre-pay money for future redemption. APRA also envisages consulting on this in 2023.

In addition, APRA intends to advance requirements for operational risk management when engaging in crypto activities in areas such as control effectiveness, business continuity and service provider management. A draft standard will be released in the next few months.

The regulator detailed its expectations for how entities manage risk around crypto-assets, asking them to “apply robust risk management controls with clear accountabilities and relevant reporting.” Entities should have conducted a comprehensive risk assessment before engaging in crypto-asset activities and have plans in place to mitigate against risks associated with dealing in crypto.

APRA’s statement comes as the market for crypto investment vehicles gathers pace in Australia. Earlier this week, exchange-traded fund (ETF) issuer 21Shares announced it will launch two spot ETFs next week, one investing directly in bitcoin (BTC) and the other in ether (ETH). They are the country’s first spot exchange-traded products.

A study last year by comparison site Finder found Australians to be among the most enthusiastic adopters of crypto, with nearly 18% owning some. This compared to a global average of 11.4%.

Updated: 6-1-2022

First Crypto ETFs In Australia See Trading Evaporate

Ultimate Resource On Australia's Involvement With Bitcoin

Australia got its first exchanged-traded products linked to Bitcoin and Ether last month, and investors reacted with a shrug.

Three ETFs (tickers: CBTC, EETH and EBTC) that launched on May 12 have seen trading volumes collapse since they started trading. The Cosmos Purpose Ethereum Access ETF (CPET), which started trading on Tuesday, saw just 2,073 shares change hands on its debut day.

Updated: 6-7-2022

Two More Spot Crypto ETFs Launch On Australian Markets

Both of the new Australian exchange-traded funds by 3iQ Digital Asset Management will feed from its existing Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

A further two cryptocurrency-backed exchange-traded funds (ETF) have launched on the Cboe Australia exchange on Monday, bringing the total amount of crypto ETFs available to Australian traders to six.

The Canada-based 3iQ Digital Asset Management launched two spot ETFs, the 3iQ CoinShares Bitcoin (BTC) Feeder ETF and the 3iQ CoinShares Ether (ETH) Feeder ETF.

Both of the Australian funds feed from the firm’s Canadian ETFs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the 3iQ CoinShares Bitcoin ETF, and the 3iQ CoinShares Ether ETF. The underlying assets of the Canadian ETFs are holdings of BTC and ETH held in cold storage by the Gemini crypto exchange.

3iQ’s funds join the Bitcoin- and Ether-backed funds by 21Shares and Cosmos Asset Management, the latter of which saw launch delays in April due to a still-unnamed service provider needing time to support the launch.

Three ETFs, a Bitcoin and Ether ETF by 21Shares, and a Bitcoin ETF by Cosmos eventually opened to trading in early May, becoming the first crypto ETFs in Australia. Cosmos later released an Ether-backed fund on May 31.

Much like 3iQ funds, the underlying assets for the Cosmos ETFs are direct investments into the Canadian Purpose Bitcoin and Ether ETFs, while the funds issued by 21Shares are backed by Bitcoin and Ether reserves held in cold storage by Coinbase.

A point of difference is that 3iQ boasts having the lowest expense ratio out of the six at 1.2% — 0.05% lower than the 21Shares and Cosmos ETFs, each with an expense ratio of 1.25%.

The three original funds by 21Shares and Cosmos had a sluggish start to trading, only seeing $1.3 million in volume on the day of launch, far below the estimated $1 billion of expected inflows. The two 21Shares funds received a total of around $936,500 of total inflows, while Cosmos’ Bitcoin fund received just over $398,000.

According to data from Cboe at the time of writing, the two 3iQ ETFs have seen a volume of 13,592 and 9,754 shares traded of the Bitcoin and Ether ETFs, respectively, accounting for around $73,415 and $73,605, respectively, for a total of over $147,000, much smaller than its competitors.

 

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BTC Market Cap Now Over Half A Trillion Dollars. Major Weekly Candle Closed!!

Elon Musk And Satoshi Nakamoto Making Millionaires At Record Pace

Binance Enables SegWit Support For Bitcoin Deposits As Adoption Grows

Santoshi Nakamoto Delivers $24.5K Christmas Gift With Another New All-Time High

Bitcoin’s Rally Has Already Outlasted 2017’s Epic Run

Gifting Crypto To Loved Ones This Holiday? Educate Them First

Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Files With SEC To Launch Bitcoin Fund

Samsung Integrates Bitcoin Wallets And Exchange Into Galaxy Phones

HTC Smartphone Will Run A Full Bitcoin Node (#GotBitcoin?)

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

Bitcoin Miners Are Heating Homes Free of Charge

Bitcoin Miners Will Someday Be Incorporated Into Household Appliances

Musk Inquires About Moving ‘Large Transactions’ To Bitcoin

How To Invest In Bitcoin: It Can Be Easy, But Watch Out For Fees

Megan Thee Stallion Gives Away $1 Million In Bitcoin

CoinFLEX Sets Up Short-Term Lending Facility For Crypto Traders

Wall Street Quants Pounce On Crytpo Industry And Some Are Not Sure What To Make Of It

Bitcoin Shortage As Wall Street FOMO Turns BTC Whales Into ‘Plankton’

Bitcoin Tops $22,000 And Strategists Say Rally Has Further To Go

Why Bitcoin Is Overpriced by More Than 50%

Kraken Exchange Will Integrate Bitcoin’s Lightning Network In 2021

New To Bitcoin? Stay Safe And Avoid These Common Scams

Andreas M. Antonopoulos And Simon Dixon Say Don’t Buy Bitcoin!

Famous Former Bitcoin Critics Who Conceded In 2020

Jim Cramer Bought Bitcoin While ‘Off Nicely From The Top’ In $17,000S

The Wealthy Are Jumping Into Bitcoin As Stigma Around Crypto Fades

WordPress Adds Official Ethereum Ad Plugin

France Moves To Ban Anonymous Crypto Accounts To Prevent Money Laundering

10 Predictions For 2021: China, Bitcoin, Taxes, Stablecoins And More

Movie Based On Darknet Market Silk Road Premiering In February

Crypto Funds Have Seen Record Investment Inflow In Recent Weeks

US Gov Is Bitcoin’s Last Remaining Adversary, Says Messari Founder

$1,200 US Stimulus Check Is Now Worth Almost $4,000 If Invested In Bitcoin

German Bank Launches Crypto Fund Covering Portfolio Of Digital Assets

World Governments Agree On Importance Of Crypto Regulation At G-7 Meeting

Why Some Investors Get Bitcoin So Wrong, And What That Says About Its Strengths

It’s Not About Data Ownership, It’s About Data Control, EFF Director Says

‘It Will Send BTC’ — On-Chain Analyst Says Bitcoin Hodlers Are Only Getting Stronger

Bitcoin Arrives On Wall Street: S&P Dow Jones Launching Crypto Indexes In 2021

Audio Streaming Giant Spotify Is Looking Into Crypto Payments

BlackRock (Assets Under Management $7.4 Trillion) CEO: Bitcoin Has Caught Our Attention

Bitcoin Moves $500K Around The Globe Every Second, Says Samson Mow

Pomp Talks Shark Tank’s Kevin O’leary Into Buying ‘A Little More’ Bitcoin

Bitcoin Is The Tulipmania That Refuses To Die

Ultimate Resource On Ethereum 2.0

Biden Should Integrate Bitcoin Into Us Financial System, Says Niall Ferguson

Bitcoin Is Winning The Monetary Revolution

Cash Is Trash, Dump Gold, Buy Bitcoin!

Bitcoin Price Sets New Record High Above $19,783

You Call That A Record? Bitcoin’s November Gains Are 3x Stock Market’s

Bitcoin Fights Back With Power, Speed and Millions of Users

Guggenheim Fund ($295 Billion Assets Under Management) Reserves Right To Put Up To 10% In Bitcoin Trust!

Exchanges Outdo Auctions For Governments Cashing In Criminal Crypto, Says Exec

Coinbase CEO: Trump Administration May ‘Rush Out’ Burdensome Crypto Wallet Rules

Bitcoin Plunges Along With Other Coins Providing For A Major Black Friday Sale Opportunity

The Most Bullish Bitcoin Arguments For Your Thanksgiving Table

‘Bitcoin Tuesday’ To Become One Of The Largest-Ever Crypto Donation Events

World’s First 24/7 Crypto Call-In Station!!!

Bitcoin Trades Again Near Record, Driven By New Group Of Buyers

Friendliest Of Them All? These Could Be The Best Countries For Crypto

Bitcoin Price Doubles Since The Halving, With Just 3.4M Bitcoin Left For Buyers

First Company-Sponsored Bitcoin Retirement Plans Launched In US

Poker Players Are Enhancing Winnings By Cashing Out In Bitcoin

Crypto-Friendly Brooks Gets Nod To Serve 5-Year Term Leading Bank Regulator

The Bitcoin Comeback: Is Crypto Finally Going Mainstream?

The Dark Future Where Payments Are Politicized And Bitcoin Wins

Mexico’s 3rd Richest Man Reveals BTC Holdings As Bitcoin Breaches $18,000

Ultimate Resource On Mike Novogratz And Galaxy Digital’s Bitcoin News

Bitcoin’s Gunning For A Record And No One’s Talking About It

Simple Steps To Keep Your Crypto Safe

US Company Now Lets Travelers Pay For Passports With Bitcoin

Billionaire Hedge Fund Investor Stanley Druckenmiller Says He Owns Bitcoin In CNBC Interview

China’s UnionPay And Korea’s Danal To Launch Crypto-Supporting Digital Card #GotBitcoin

Bitcoin Is Back Trading Near Three-Year Highs

Bitcoin Transaction Fees Rise To 28-Month High As Hashrate Drops Amid Price Rally

Market Is Proving Bitcoin Is ‘Ultimate Safe Haven’ — Anthony Pompliano

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Price Suddenly Dropping Below $13,000 Isn’t Bearish

Bitcoin Resurgence Leaves Institutional Acceptance Unanswered

Bitcoin’s Rivalry With Gold Plus Millennial Interest Gives It ‘Considerable’ Upside Potential: JPMorgan

WordPress Content Can Now Be Timestamped On Ethereum

PayPal To Offer Crypto Payments Starting In 2021 (A-Z) (#GotBitcoin?)

As Bitcoin Approaches $13,000 It Breaks Correlation With Equities

Crypto M&A Surges Past 2019 Total As Rest of World Eclipses U.S. (#GotBitcoin?)

How HBCUs Are Prepping Black Students For Blockchain Careers

Why Every US Congressman Just Got Sent Some ‘American’ Bitcoin

CME Sounding Out Crypto Traders To Gauge Market Demand For Ether Futures, Options

Caitlin Long On Bitcoin, Blockchain And Rehypothecation (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Drops To $10,446.83 As CFTC Charges BitMex With Illegally Operating Derivatives Exchange

BitcoinACKs Lets You Track Bitcoin Development And Pay Coders For Their Work

One Of Hal Finney’s Lost Contributions To Bitcoin Core To Be ‘Resurrected’ (#GotBitcoin?)

Cross-chain Money Markets, Latest Attempt To Bring Liquidity To DeFi

Memes Mean Mad Money. Those Silly Defi Memes, They’re Really Important (#GotBitcoin?)

Bennie Overton’s Story About Our Corrupt U.S. Judicial, Global Financial Monetary System And Bitcoin

Stop Fucking Around With Public Token Airdrops In The United States (#GotBitcoin?)

Mad Money’s Jim Cramer Will Invest 1% Of Net Worth In Bitcoin Says, “Gold Is Dangerous”

State-by-state Licensing For Crypto And Payments Firms In The Us Just Got Much Easier (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin (BTC) Ranks As World 6Th Largest Currency

Pomp Claims He Convinced Jim Cramer To Buy Bitcoin

Traditional Investors View Bitcoin As If It Were A Technology Stock

Mastercard Releases Platform Enabling Central Banks To Test Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Being Black On Wall Street. Top Black Executives Speak Out About Racism (#GotBitcoin?)

Tesla And Bitcoin Are The Most Popular Assets On TradingView (#GotBitcoin?)

From COVID Generation To Crypto Generation (#GotBitcoin?)

Right-Winger Tucker Carlson Causes Grayscale Investments To Pull Bitcoin Ads

Bitcoin Has Lost Its Way: Here’s How To Return To Crypto’s Subversive Roots

Cross Chain Is Here: NEO, ONT, Cosmos And NEAR Launch Interoperability Protocols (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Trading Products Enter The Mainstream With A Number Of Inherent Advantages (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Goes Mainstream With TV, Newspaper Ads (#GotBitcoin?)

A Guarded Generation: How Millennials View Money And Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Backed Social Media Brings More Choice For Users

California Moves Forward With Digital Asset Bill (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Adds Crypto Cashback Through Shopping Loyalty Platform StormX (#GotBitcoin?)

Congressman Tom Emmer To Lead First-Ever Crypto Town Hall (#GotBitcoin?)

Why It’s Time To Pay Attention To Mexico’s Booming Crypto Market (#GotBitcoin?)

The Assets That Matter Most In Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Ultimate Resource On Non-Fungible Tokens

Bitcoin Community Highlights Double-Standard Applied Deutsche Bank Epstein Scandal

Blockchain Makes Strides In Diversity. However, Traditional Tech Industry Not-S0-Much (#GotBitcoin?)

An Israeli Blockchain Startup Claims It’s Invented An ‘Undo’ Button For BTC Transactions

After Years of Resistance, BitPay Adopts SegWit For Cheaper Bitcoin Transactions

US Appeals Court Allows Warrantless Search of Blockchain, Exchange Data

Central Bank Rate Cuts Mean ‘World Has Gone Zimbabwe’

This Researcher Says Bitcoin’s Elliptic Curve Could Have A Secret Backdoor

China Discovers 4% Of Its Reserves Or 83 Tons Of It’s Gold Bars Are Fake (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Legg Mason Star Bill Miller And Bloomberg Are Optimistic About Bitcoin’s Future

Yield Chasers Are Yield Farming In Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Australia Post Office Now Lets Customers Buy Bitcoin At Over 3,500 Outlets

Anomaly On Bitcoin Sidechain Results In Brief Security Lapse

SEC And DOJ Charges Lobbying Kingpin Jack Abramoff And Associate For Money Laundering

Veteran Commodities Trader Chris Hehmeyer Goes All In On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Activists Document Police Misconduct Using Decentralized Protocol (#GotBitcoin?)

Supposedly, PayPal, Venmo To Roll Out Crypto Buying And Selling (#GotBitcoin?)

Industry Leaders Launch PayID, The Universal ID For Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Quant Fund Debuts With $23M In Assets, $2.3B In Trades (#GotBitcoin?)

The Queens Politician Who Wants To Give New Yorkers Their Own Crypto

Why Does The SEC Want To Run Bitcoin And Ethereum Nodes?

Trump Orders Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin To Destroy Bitcoin Just Like They Destroyed The Traditional Economy

US Drug Agency Failed To Properly Supervise Agent Who Stole $700,000 In Bitcoin In 2015

Layer 2 Will Make Bitcoin As Easy To Use As The Dollar, Says Kraken CEO

Bootstrapping Mobile Mesh Networks With Bitcoin Lightning

Nevermind Coinbase — Big Brother Is Already Watching Your Coins (#GotBitcoin?)

BitPay’s Prepaid Mastercard Launches In US to Make Crypto Accessible (#GotBitcoin?)

Germany’s Deutsche Borse Exchange To List New Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Product

‘Bitcoin Billionaires’ Movie To Tell Winklevoss Bros’ Crypto Story

US Pentagon Created A War Game To Fight The Establishment With BTC (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Provides Banking Services To Crypto Exchanges Coinbase And Gemini (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Advocates Cry Foul As US Fed Buying ETFs For The First Time

Final Block Mined Before Halving Contained Reminder of BTC’s Origins (#GotBitcoin?)

Meet Brian Klein, Crypto’s Own ‘High-Stakes’ Trial Attorney (#GotBitcoin?)

3 Reasons For The Bitcoin Price ‘Halving Dump’ From $10K To $8.1K

Bitcoin Outlives And Outlasts Naysayers And First Website That Declared It Dead Back In 2010

Hedge Fund Pioneer Turns Bullish On Bitcoin Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Monetary Inflation

Antonopoulos: Chainalysis Is Helping World’s Worst Dictators & Regimes (#GotBitcoin?)

Survey Shows Many BTC Holders Use Hardware Wallet, Have Backup Keys (#GotBitcoin?)

Iran Ditches The Rial Amid Hyperinflation As Localbitcoins Seem To Trade Near $35K

Buffett ‘Killed His Reputation’ by Being Stupid About BTC, Says Max Keiser (#GotBitcoin?)

Meltem Demirors: “Bitcoin Is Not A F*Cking Systemic Hedge If You Hold Your Bitcoin At A Financial Institution”

Blockfolio Quietly Patches Years-Old Security Hole That Exposed Source Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Won As Store of Value In Coronavirus Crisis — Hedge Fund CEO

Decentralized VPN Gaining Steam At 100,000 Users Worldwide (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Offers Credit Lines so Institutions Can Trade Now, Pay Later (#GotBitcoin?)

Zoom Develops A Cryptocurrency Paywall To Reward Creators Video Conferencing Sessions (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Startup Purse.io And Major Bitcoin Cash Partner To Shut Down After 6-Year Run

Open Interest In CME Bitcoin Futures Rises 70% As Institutions Return To Market

Square’s Users Can Route Stimulus Payments To BTC-Friendly Cash App

$1.1 Billion BTC Transaction For Only $0.68 Demonstrates Bitcoin’s Advantage Over Banks

Bitcoin Could Become Like ‘Prison Cigarettes’ Amid Deepening Financial Crisis

Bitcoin Holds Value As US Debt Reaches An Unfathomable $24 Trillion

How To Get Money (Crypto-currency) To People In An Emergency, Fast

US Intelligence To Study What Would Happen If U.S. Dollar Lost Its Status As World’s Reserve Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miner Manufacturers Mark Down Prices Ahead of Halving

Privacy-Oriented Browsers Gain Traction (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Breakthrough’ As Lightning Uses Web’s Forgotten Payment Code (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Starts Quarter With Price Down Just 10% YTD vs U.S. Stock’s Worst Quarter Since 2008

Bitcoin Enthusiasts, Liberal Lawmakers Cheer A Fed-Backed Digital Dollar

Crypto-Friendly Bank Revolut Launches In The US (#GotBitcoin?)

The CFTC Just Defined What ‘Actual Delivery’ of Crypto Should Look Like (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto CEO Compares US Dollar To Onecoin Scam As Fed Keeps Printing (#GotBitcoin?)

Stuck In Quarantine? Become A Blockchain Expert With These Online Courses (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin, Not Governments Will Save the World After Crisis, Tim Draper Says

Crypto Analyst Accused of Photoshopping Trade Screenshots (#GotBitcoin?)

QE4 Begins: Fed Cuts Rates, Buys $700B In Bonds; Bitcoin Rallies 7.7%

Mike Novogratz And Andreas Antonopoulos On The Bitcoin Crash

Amid Market Downturn, Number of People Owning 1 BTC Hits New Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Fatburger And Others Feed $30 Million Into Ethereum For New Bond Offering (#GotBitcoin?)

Pornhub Will Integrate PumaPay Recurring Subscription Crypto Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Intel SGX Vulnerability Discovered, Cryptocurrency Keys Threatened

Bitcoin’s Plunge Due To Manipulation, Traditional Markets Falling or PlusToken Dumping?

Countries That First Outlawed Crypto But Then Embraced It (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Maintains Gains As Global Equities Slide, US Yield Hits Record Lows

HTC’s New 5G Router Can Host A Full Bitcoin Node

India Supreme Court Lifts RBI Ban On Banks Servicing Crypto Firms (#GotBitcoin?)

Analyst Claims 98% of Mining Rigs Fail to Verify Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain Storage Offers Security, Data Transparency And immutability. Get Over it!

Black Americans & Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Wallet Now Allows To Send Crypto Through Usernames (#GotBitcoin)

New ‘Simpsons’ Episode Features Jim Parsons Giving A Crypto Explainer For The Masses (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto-currency Founder Met With Warren Buffett For Charity Lunch (#GotBitcoin?)

Witches Love Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s Potential To Benefit The African And African-American Community

Coinbase Becomes Direct Visa Card Issuer With Principal Membership

Bitcoin Achieves Major Milestone With Half A Billion Transactions Confirmed

Jill Carlson, Meltem Demirors Back $3.3M Round For Non-Custodial Settlement Protocol Arwen

Crypto Companies Adopt Features Similar To Banks (Only Better) To Drive Growth (#GotBitcoin?)

Top Graphics Cards That Will Turn A Crypto Mining Profit (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Usage Among Merchants Is Up, According To Data From Coinbase And BitPay

Top 10 Books Recommended by Crypto (#Bitcoin) Thought Leaders

Twitter Adds Bitcoin Emoji, Jack Dorsey Suggests Unicode Does The Same

Bitcoiners Are Now Into Fasting. Read This Article To Find Out Why

You Can Now Donate Bitcoin Or Fiat To Show Your Support For All Of Our Valuable Content

2019’s Top 10 Institutional Actors In Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

What Does Twitter’s New Decentralized Initiative Mean? (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto-Friendly Silvergate Bank Goes Public On New York Stock Exchange (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Best Q1 Since 2013 To ‘Escalate’ If $9.5K Is Broken

Billionaire Investor Tim Draper: If You’re a Millennial, Buy Bitcoin

What Are Lightning Wallets Doing To Help Onboard New Users? (#GotBitcoin?)

If You Missed Out On Investing In Amazon, Bitcoin Might Be A Second Chance For You (#GotBitcoin?)

2020 And Beyond: Bitcoin’s Potential Protocol (Privacy And Scalability) Upgrades (#GotBitcoin?)

US Deficit Will Be At Least 6 Times Bitcoin Market Cap — Every Year (#GotBitcoin?)

Central Banks Warm To Issuing Digital Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Meet The Crypto Angel Investor Running For Congress In Nevada (#GotBitcoin?)

Introducing BTCPay Vault – Use Any Hardware Wallet With BTCPay And Its Full Node (#GotBitcoin?)

How Not To Lose Your Coins In 2020: Alternative Recovery Methods (#GotBitcoin?)

H.R.5635 – Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020 ($200.00 Limit) 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Adam Back On Satoshi Emails, Privacy Concerns And Bitcoin’s Early Days

The Prospect of Using Bitcoin To Build A New International Monetary System Is Getting Real

How To Raise Funds For Australia Wildfire Relief Efforts (Using Bitcoin And/Or Fiat )

Former Regulator Known As ‘Crypto Dad’ To Launch Digital-Dollar Think Tank (#GotBitcoin?)

Currency ‘Cold War’ Takes Center Stage At Pre-Davos Crypto Confab (#GotBitcoin?)

A Blockchain-Secured Home Security Camera Won Innovation Awards At CES 2020 Las Vegas

Bitcoin’s Had A Sensational 11 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Sergey Nazarov And The Creation Of A Decentralized Network Of Oracles

Google Suspends MetaMask From Its Play App Store, Citing “Deceptive Services”

Christmas Shopping: Where To Buy With Crypto This Festive Season

At 8,990,000% Gains, Bitcoin Dwarfs All Other Investments This Decade

Coinbase CEO Armstrong Wins Patent For Tech Allowing Users To Email Bitcoin

Bitcoin Has Got Society To Think About The Nature Of Money

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Dissidents And Activists Have A Lot To Gain From Bitcoin, If Only They Knew It (#GotBitcoin?)

At A Refugee Camp In Iraq, A 16-Year-Old Syrian Is Teaching Crypto Basics

Bitclub Scheme Busted In The US, Promising High Returns From Mining

Bitcoin Advertised On French National TV

Germany: New Proposed Law Would Legalize Banks Holding Bitcoin

How To Earn And Spend Bitcoin On Black Friday 2019

The Ultimate List of Bitcoin Developments And Accomplishments

Charities Put A Bitcoin Twist On Giving Tuesday

Family Offices Finally Accept The Benefits of Investing In Bitcoin

An Army Of Bitcoin Devs Is Battle-Testing Upgrades To Privacy And Scaling

Bitcoin ‘Carry Trade’ Can Net Annual Gains With Little Risk, Says PlanB

Max Keiser: Bitcoin’s ‘Self-Settlement’ Is A Revolution Against Dollar

Blockchain Can And Will Replace The IRS

China Seizes The Blockchain Opportunity. How Should The US Respond? (#GotBitcoin?)

Jack Dorsey: You Can Buy A Fraction Of Berkshire Stock Or ‘Stack Sats’

Bitcoin Price Skyrockets $500 In Minutes As Bakkt BTC Contracts Hit Highs

Bitcoin’s Irreversibility Challenges International Private Law: Legal Scholar

Bitcoin Has Already Reached 40% Of Average Fiat Currency Lifespan

Yes, Even Bitcoin HODLers Can Lose Money In The Long-Term: Here’s How (#GotBitcoin?)

Unicef To Accept Donations In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Former Prosecutor Asked To “Shut Down Bitcoin” And Is Now Face Of Crypto VC Investing (#GotBitcoin?)

Switzerland’s ‘Crypto Valley’ Is Bringing Blockchain To Zurich

Next Bitcoin Halving May Not Lead To Bull Market, Says Bitmain CEO

Tim Draper Bets On Unstoppable Domain’s .Crypto Domain Registry To Replace Wallet Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Developer Amir Taaki, “We Can Crash National Economies” (#GotBitcoin?)

Veteran Crypto And Stocks Trader Shares 6 Ways To Invest And Get Rich

Have I Missed The Boat? – Best Ways To Purchase Cryptocurrency

Is Chainlink Blazing A Trail Independent Of Bitcoin?

Nearly $10 Billion In BTC Is Held In Wallets Of 8 Crypto Exchanges (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Enters Settlement Talks With Alleged Fraudulent Firm Veritaseum (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream’s Samson Mow: Bitcoin’s Block Size Already ‘Too Big’

Attorneys Seek Bank Of Ireland Execs’ Testimony Against OneCoin Scammer (#GotBitcoin?)

OpenLibra Plans To Launch Permissionless Fork Of Facebook’s Stablecoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Tiny $217 Options Trade On Bitcoin Blockchain Could Be Wall Street’s Death Knell (#GotBitcoin?)

Class Action Accuses Tether And Bitfinex Of Market Manipulation (#GotBitcoin?)

Sharia Goldbugs: How ISIS Created A Currency For World Domination (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Eyes Demand As Hong Kong Protestors Announce Bank Run (#GotBitcoin?)

How To Securely Transfer Crypto To Your Heirs

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto News From The Spanish-Speaking World (#GotBitcoin?)

Financial Services Giant Morningstar To Offer Ratings For Crypto Assets (#GotBitcoin?)

‘Gold-Backed’ Crypto Token Promoter Karatbars Investigated By Florida Regulators (#GotBitcoin?)

The Original Sins Of Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is The Fraud? JPMorgan Metals Desk Fixed Gold Prices For Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Israeli Startup That Allows Offline Crypto Transactions Secures $4M (#GotBitcoin?)

[PSA] Non-genuine Trezor One Devices Spotted (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Stronger Than Ever But No One Seems To Care: Google Trends (#GotBitcoin?)

First-Ever SEC-Qualified Token Offering In US Raises $23 Million (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Prove A Whole Blockchain With One Math Problem – Really

Crypto Mining Supply Fails To Meet Market Demand In Q2: TokenInsight

$2 Billion Lost In Mt. Gox Bitcoin Hack Can Be Recovered, Lawyer Claims (#GotBitcoin?)

Fed Chair Says Agency Monitoring Crypto But Not Developing Its Own (#GotBitcoin?)

Wesley Snipes Is Launching A Tokenized $25 Million Movie Fund (#GotBitcoin?)

Mystery 94K BTC Transaction Becomes Richest Non-Exchange Address (#GotBitcoin?)

A Crypto Fix For A Broken International Monetary System (#GotBitcoin?)

Four Out Of Five Top Bitcoin QR Code Generators Are Scams: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Waves Platform And The Abyss To Jointly Launch Blockchain-Based Games Marketplace (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitmain Ramps Up Power And Efficiency With New Bitcoin Mining Machine (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Miss Finland: Bitcoin’s Risk Keeps Most Women Away From Cryptocurrency (#GotBitcoin?)

Artist Akon Loves BTC And Says, “It’s Controlled By The People” (#GotBitcoin?)

Ledger Live Now Supports Over 1,250 Ethereum-Based ERC-20 Tokens (#GotBitcoin?)

Co-Founder Of LinkedIn Presents Crypto Rap Video: Hamilton Vs. Satoshi (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Insurance Market To Grow, Lloyd’s Of London And Aon To Lead (#GotBitcoin?)

No ‘AltSeason’ Until Bitcoin Breaks $20K, Says Hedge Fund Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

NSA Working To Develop Quantum-Resistant Cryptocurrency: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Custody Provider Legacy Trust Launches Crypto Pension Plan (#GotBitcoin?)

Vaneck, SolidX To Offer Limited Bitcoin ETF For Institutions Via Exemption (#GotBitcoin?)

Russell Okung: From NFL Superstar To Bitcoin Educator In 2 Years (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Miners Made $14 Billion To Date Securing The Network (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Does Amazon Want To Hire Blockchain Experts For Its Ads Division?

Argentina’s Economy Is In A Technical Default (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain-Based Fractional Ownership Used To Sell High-End Art (#GotBitcoin?)

Portugal Tax Authority: Bitcoin Trading And Payments Are Tax-Free (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin ‘Failed Safe Haven Test’ After 7% Drop, Peter Schiff Gloats (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Dev Reveals Multisig UI Teaser For Hardware Wallets, Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price: $10K Holds For Now As 50% Of CME Futures Set To Expire (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Realized Market Cap Hits $100 Billion For The First Time (#GotBitcoin?)

Stablecoins Begin To Look Beyond The Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Bank Of England Governor: Libra-Like Currency Could Replace US Dollar (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Reveals ‘Venus’ — Its Own Project To Rival Facebook’s Libra (#GotBitcoin?)

The Real Benefits Of Blockchain Are Here. They’re Being Ignored (#GotBitcoin?)

CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Approves Blockchain Tech Startup Securitize To Record Stock Transfers (#GotBitcoin?)

SegWit Creator Introduces New Language For Bitcoin Smart Contracts (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Earn Bitcoin Rewards For Postmates Purchases (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Price ‘Will Struggle’ In Big Financial Crisis, Says Investor (#GotBitcoin?)

Fidelity Charitable Received Over $100M In Crypto Donations Since 2015 (#GotBitcoin?)

Would Blockchain Better Protect User Data Than FaceApp? Experts Answer (#GotBitcoin?)

Just The Existence Of Bitcoin Impacts Monetary Policy (#GotBitcoin?)

What Are The Biggest Alleged Crypto Heists And How Much Was Stolen? (#GotBitcoin?)

IRS To Cryptocurrency Owners: Come Clean, Or Else!

Coinbase Accidentally Saves Unencrypted Passwords Of 3,420 Customers (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Is A ‘Chaos Hedge, Or Schmuck Insurance‘ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Announces September 23 Launch Of Futures And Custody

Coinbase CEO: Institutions Depositing $200-400M Into Crypto Per Week (#GotBitcoin?)

Researchers Find Monero Mining Malware That Hides From Task Manager (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Dusting Attack Affects Nearly 300,000 Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

A Case For Bitcoin As Recession Hedge In A Diversified Investment Portfolio (#GotBitcoin?)

SEC Guidance Gives Ammo To Lawsuit Claiming XRP Is Unregistered Security (#GotBitcoin?)

15 Countries To Develop Crypto Transaction Tracking System: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

US Department Of Commerce Offering 6-Figure Salary To Crypto Expert (#GotBitcoin?)

Mastercard Is Building A Team To Develop Crypto, Wallet Projects (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Bitcoin Educator Scams The Scammer And Donates Proceeds (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon Wants To Build A Blockchain For Ads, New Job Listing Shows (#GotBitcoin?)

Shield Bitcoin Wallets From Theft Via Time Delay (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockstream Launches Bitcoin Mining Farm With Fidelity As Early Customer (#GotBitcoin?)

Commerzbank Tests Blockchain Machine To Machine Payments With Daimler (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Historical Returns Look Very Attractive As Online Banks Lower Payouts On Savings Accounts (#GotBitcoin?)

Man Takes Bitcoin Miner Seller To Tribunal Over Electricity Bill And Wins (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Computing Power Sets Record As Over 100K New Miners Go Online (#GotBitcoin?)

Walmart Coin And Libra Perform Major Public Relations For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Judge Says Buying Bitcoin Via Credit Card Not Necessarily A Cash Advance (#GotBitcoin?)

Poll: If You’re A Stockowner Or Crypto-Currency Holder. What Will You Do When The Recession Comes?

1 In 5 Crypto Holders Are Women, New Report Reveals (#GotBitcoin?)

Beating Bakkt, Ledgerx Is First To Launch ‘Physical’ Bitcoin Futures In Us (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook Warns Investors That Libra Stablecoin May Never Launch (#GotBitcoin?)

Government Money Printing Is ‘Rocket Fuel’ For Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin-Friendly Square Cash App Stock Price Up 56% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Safeway Shoppers Can Now Get Bitcoin Back As Change At 894 US Stores (#GotBitcoin?)

TD Ameritrade CEO: There’s ‘Heightened Interest Again’ With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuela Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record Thanks To 10,000,000% Inflation (#GotBitcoin?)

Newegg Adds Bitcoin Payment Option To 73 More Countries (#GotBitcoin?)

China’s Schizophrenic Relationship With Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

More Companies Build Products Around Crypto Hardware Wallets (#GotBitcoin?)

Bakkt Is Scheduled To Start Testing Its Bitcoin Futures Contracts Today (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Now 8 Times More Powerful Than It Was At $20K Price (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange BitMEX Under Investigation By CFTC: Bloomberg (#GotBitcoin?)

“Bitcoin An ‘Unstoppable Force,” Says US Congressman At Crypto Hearing (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Network Is Moving $3 Billion Daily, Up 210% Since April (#GotBitcoin?)

Cryptocurrency Startups Get Partial Green Light From Washington

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Pullback Is Healthy, Fewer Searches Аre Good (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Lightning Nodes Are Snatching Funds From Bad Actors (#GotBitcoin?)

The Provident Bank Now Offers Deposit Services For Crypto-Related Entities (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Could Help Stop News Censorship From Space (#GotBitcoin?)

US Sanctions On Iran Crypto Mining — Inevitable Or Impossible? (#GotBitcoin?)

US Lawmaker Reintroduces ‘Safe Harbor’ Crypto Tax Bill In Congress (#GotBitcoin?)

EU Central Bank Won’t Add Bitcoin To Reserves — Says It’s Not A Currency (#GotBitcoin?)

The Miami Dolphins Now Accept Bitcoin And Litecoin Crypt-Currency Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Bashes Bitcoin And Alt-Right Is Mad As Hell (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development Of New Secret Crypto Project (#GotBitcoin?)

Blockchain And AI Bond, Explained (#GotBitcoin?)

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Outperformed Indexes In First Half Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

XRP Is The Worst Performing Major Crypto Of 2019 (GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Back Near $12K As BTC Shorters Lose $44 Million In One Morning (#GotBitcoin?)

As Deutsche Bank Axes 18K Jobs, Bitcoin Offers A ‘Plan ฿”: VanEck Exec (#GotBitcoin?)

Argentina Drives Global LocalBitcoins Volume To Highest Since November (#GotBitcoin?)

‘I Would Buy’ Bitcoin If Growth Continues — Investment Legend Mobius (#GotBitcoin?)

Lawmakers Push For New Bitcoin Rules (#GotBitcoin?)

Facebook’s Libra Is Bad For African Americans (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Firm Charity Announces Alliance To Support Feminine Health (#GotBitcoin?)

Canadian Startup Wants To Upgrade Millions Of ATMs To Sell Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Trump Says US ‘Should Match’ China’s Money Printing Game (#GotBitcoin?)

Casa Launches Lightning Node Mobile App For Bitcoin Newbies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Rally Fuels Market In Crypto Derivatives (#GotBitcoin?)

World’s First Zero-Fiat ‘Bitcoin Bond’ Now Available On Bloomberg Terminal (#GotBitcoin?)

Buying Bitcoin Has Been Profitable 98.2% Of The Days Since Creation (#GotBitcoin?)

Another Crypto Exchange Receives License For Crypto Futures

From ‘Ponzi’ To ‘We’re Working On It’ — BIS Chief Reverses Stance On Crypto (#GotBitcoin?)

These Are The Cities Googling ‘Bitcoin’ As Interest Hits 17-Month High (#GotBitcoin?)

Venezuelan Explains How Bitcoin Saves His Family (#GotBitcoin?)

Quantum Computing Vs. Blockchain: Impact On Cryptography

This Fund Is Riding Bitcoin To Top (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Surge Leaves Smaller Digital Currencies In The Dust (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exchange Hits $1 Trillion In Trading Volume (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Breaks $200 Billion Market Cap For The First Time In 17 Months (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Make State Tax Payments In Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Religious Organizations Make Ideal Places To Mine Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Goldman Sacs And JP Morgan Chase Finally Concede To Crypto-Currencies (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Heading For Fifth Month Of Gains Despite Price Correction (#GotBitcoin?)

Breez Reveals Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Payments App For IPhone (#GotBitcoin?)

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software (#GotBitcoin?)

Amazon-Owned Twitch Quietly Brings Back Bitcoin Payments (#GotBitcoin?)

JPMorgan Will Pilot ‘JPM Coin’ Stablecoin By End Of 2019: Report (#GotBitcoin?)

Is There A Big Short In Bitcoin? (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase Hit With Outage As Bitcoin Price Drops $1.8K In 15 Minutes

Samourai Wallet Releases Privacy-Enhancing CoinJoin Feature (#GotBitcoin?)

There Are Now More Than 5,000 Bitcoin ATMs Around The World (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Get Bitcoin Rewards When Booking At Hotels.Com (#GotBitcoin?)

North America’s Largest Solar Bitcoin Mining Farm Coming To California (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin On Track For Best Second Quarter Price Gain On Record (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Hash Rate Climbs To New Record High Boosting Network Security (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Exceeds 1Million Active Addresses While Coinbase Custodies $1.3B In Assets

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin’s Lightning Comes To Apple Smartwatches With New App (#GotBitcoin?)

E-Trade To Offer Crypto Trading (#GotBitcoin)

US Rapper Lil Pump Starts Accepting Bitcoin Via Lightning Network On Merchandise Store (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitfinex Used Tether Reserves To Mask Missing $850 Million, Probe Finds (#GotBitcoin?)

21-Year-Old Jailed For 10 Years After Stealing $7.5M In Crypto By Hacking Cell Phones (#GotBitcoin?)

You Can Now Shop With Bitcoin On Amazon Using Lightning (#GotBitcoin?)

Afghanistan, Tunisia To Issue Sovereign Bonds In Bitcoin, Bright Future Ahead (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Faithful Say Blockchain Can Remake Securities Market Machinery (#GotBitcoin?)

Disney In Talks To Acquire The Owner Of Crypto Exchanges Bitstamp And Korbit (#GotBitcoin?)

Crypto Exchange Gemini Rolls Out Native Wallet Support For SegWit Bitcoin Addresses (#GotBitcoin?)

Binance Delists Bitcoin SV, CEO Calls Craig Wright A ‘Fraud’ (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Outperforms Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, Grows Whopping 37% In 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Bitcoin Passes A Milestone 400 Million Transactions (#GotBitcoin?)

Future Returns: Why Investors May Want To Consider Bitcoin Now (#GotBitcoin?)

Next Bitcoin Core Release To Finally Connect Hardware Wallets To Full Nodes (#GotBitcoin?)

Major Crypto-Currency Exchanges Use Lloyd’s Of London, A Registered Insurance Broker (#GotBitcoin?)

How Bitcoin Can Prevent Fraud And Chargebacks (#GotBitcoin?)

Why Bitcoin’s Price Suddenly Surged Back $5K (#GotBitcoin?)

Zebpay Becomes First Exchange To Add Lightning Payments For All Users (#GotBitcoin?)

Coinbase’s New Customer Incentive: Interest Payments, With A Crypto Twist (#GotBitcoin?)

The Best Bitcoin Debit (Cashback) Cards Of 2019 (#GotBitcoin?)

Real Estate Brokerages Now Accepting Bitcoin (#GotBitcoin?)

Ernst & Young Introduces Tax Tool For Reporting Cryptocurrencies (#GotBitcoin?)

How Will Bitcoin Behave During A Recession? (#GotBitcoin?)

Investors Run Out of Options As Bitcoin, Stocks, Bonds, Oil Cave To Recession Fears (#GotBitcoin?)

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