In light of the Murray report released in November, the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association (ADCCA) welcomes the several recommendations issued by the Financial Systems Inquiry, including broadening the types of entities that qualify for an Australian Financial Services License and have access to the Government's Document Verification Service, as well as developing a national strategy group, dubbed the "Innovation Collaboration."
"I am delighted with the foresightedness of the Murray Report in recognizing the need to update regulations to encourage innovation in the financial system," stated Ronald Tucker, Chairman at the ADCCA.
"The digital currency industry in Australia is growing, but is being held back by outdated regulations, something that is recognized by the report."
Released on November 8 by Treasurer Joe Hockey, the report is the end result of an inquiry headed by former CEO at the Commonwealth Bank, David Murray.
The Murray Report
The Financial Systems Inquiry report focused on innovation in the financial services industry as a key theme and identified 44 recommendations as part of the inquiry into regulation of Australia's financial services industry. One of these recommendations encouraged the government into the creation of a public-private sector committee, the "Innovation Collaboration," to help the industry keep pace with innovation. According to the document, the proposed committee should consist of senior industry, government, regulatory, academic, and consumer representatives.
"We welcome the recommendation to develop a national identity strategy, which if Implemented, would cut down on e-fraud, boost consumer confidence and reduce compliance costs," said Tucker. He added:
"We are already working closely with government regulators and legislators to work towards a best practice regulatory framework for the digital currency sector. ADCCA is looking forward to working with established financial players and the government to ensure that everyone benefits from these developments, [...] [and] is keen to participate in the 'Innovation Collaboration.'"
The ADCCA is Australia's leading council and representation of and for digital currency businesses. Last month, Sir Richard Branson released an op-ed in which he endorses and supports the organization for its consistent work on standardizing digital currencies.
While Australia is looking to build the proper legal framework for emerging technologies that could potentially disrupt the financial services industry, some Bitcoin businesses have been rather unsatisfied with the government's announcement made in August, declaring that fiat-digital transactions would be subject to the Australian 10% general sales tax. Australia-native Bitcoin wallet provider CoinJar was among the disgruntled ones and announced last week it had relocated its physical headquarters from Melbourne to London.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin has been recently identified as a primary concern for Australian authorities due to its association with criminal activity, as the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) announced last week it had launched Project Longstrike, a government initiative against organized crime involving the digital currency.
ACC Executive Director Judy Lind told Reuters that investigators were aware of and would be monitoring "misuse of virtual currencies to facilitate criminal activity." The criminal intelligence and investigative agency said it was committed to ensure that Bitcoin isn't used to commit illegal activity in the country.
In early October, the Australian Senate announced a hearing on digital currencies, which is due to hand down its report on March 2.