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Committee Chair, Senator Andrew Bragg. Source: Andrew Bragg/Twitter
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  • Following two interim findings, the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre have tabled its third and final report in a move widely applauded
  • The final report of the committee provides 12 suggestions that aim to create possibilities for creative firms, safeguard consumers and boost Australia’s competitiveness
  • Committee Chair, Senator Andrew Bragg said Australia can be a leader in digital assets and that a crypto framework would drive investment and jobs into Australia
  • According to Associate Professor Chris Berg, co-founder of RMIT University’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, Parliament should approve the recomendations as quickly as feasible

Following two interim findings given in September 2020 and April 2021, the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre (ATFC) have tabled its third and final report in a move widely applauded.

The final report of the committee provides 12 suggestions that aim to create possibilities for creative firms, safeguard consumers and boost Australia’s competitiveness.

The suggestions cover a wide range of issues, from the regulation of digital assets in Australia to ‘de-banking’ practices affecting Australian FinTechs and other businesses.

The committee’s proposals, in particular, would establish a regulatory framework for Australia’s digital assets industry for the first time. As a result, Australia will be able to compete with top countries such as Singapore and the United Kingdom for investment and opportunity in this developing sector, according to the report.

Committee Chair, Senator Andrew Bragg said Australia can be a leader in digital assets and that a crypto framework would drive investment and jobs into Australia.

Plaudits have said the Senate inquiry’s far-reaching proposals on crypto-asset regulation provide a chance to bring employment, investment, and innovation to Australia.

According to Associate Professor Chris Berg, co-founder of RMIT University’s Blockchain Innovation Hub, Parliament should approve them as quickly as feasible.

“The suggestions in this study provide the cryptocurrency and blockchain sectors with the clarity that is sorely needed to guarantee a successful future digital economy,” Mr Berg said.

“We have an opportunity to take a global leadership position and compete with countries such as the United States, Singapore and Switzerland in this incredibly vibrant sector.

“It is good to see our recommendations to change how cryptocurrency is taxed and how blockchain-based decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) are regulated being taken up by the Australian Senate,” he said.

Mr Berg said policy change is much needed to provide regulatory clarity to the industry.

Elizabeth Morton, one of the submission’s co-authors, praised the committee’s suggestion for a focused change of the capital gains taxation structure as it pertains to cryptocurrencies.

“We see an urgent need to ensure the tax system achieves balance in simplification, reflective of a digitally driven economy, encouraging tax compliance and protecting tax revenues from the risk of leakage,” she said.

“Reform will offer clarity for taxpayers and confidence in the tax system as a whole.”

Australian cryptocurrency exchange CoinJar welcomed the announcement, particularly the docus on de-banking and changes to the CGT treatment of cryptocurrency.

“Blockchain technology will be at the heart of Web 3.0 – the new Internet,” CoinJar CEO Asher Tan said. “The ATFC report helps position Australia to take full advantage of this multi-billion-dollar opportunity.”

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