In mid-September, BTC Markets went online in Sydney, offering local Bitcoin users a new trading platform. Money transfers on BTC Markets are free, and trade commissions starts at 1%.
One of its biggest difficulties thus far, according to founder Martin Bajalan, is dealing with Australian regulations.
The regulation climate itself seems fairly stable, relatively speaking, but there are a number of actors at the government level there. These include the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Austrac.
BTC Markets’ lawyers have signed off on the exchange’s compliance, saying there is currently no need for a license for real-time exchanges, as Bitcoin seems to fall under forex contracts or derivatives according to Australian law.
That said, all the rules could change if governments could too excited about Bitcoin. Fears of money laundering or not getting a cut of taxes could be enough to change the game entirely at the country level, a risk most Bitcoin businesses simply have to live with.
In the meantime, BTC Markets is trying to remain as compliant as it can, which is a bit easier in the country of 23 million because it does not have the federal level of regulation on top of a state level, as is becoming a problem in the US.
Meanwhile, at least one pub in Sydney has begun accepting Bitcoin payments, and Bajalan is working with the US-based Bitcoin Foundation to start a local chapter. And another Australian startup, CoinJar, has received 500,000 AUD in venture funding.
Bitcoin’s future looks fairly bright Down Under.