Australia to Define Crypto in ‘Token Mapping’ Exercise

The Australian crypto industry eagerly awaits the government’s digital asset analysis, pegged to bring a solid framework in which to operate.

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Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese | Source: Shutterstock

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key takeaways

  • The new Labor government is pushing on with plans to define digital assets and fit them for purpose under Australian law.
  • It will also seek to further a formal licensing regime for digital asset businesses as well as custody obligations for third parties

In Australia, the Labor government will this year undertake what it says is a world-first “token mapping” exercise — an attempt to define the various types of digital assets and bring them under an appropriate regulatory framework.

Plans for regulation and consumer protections were set out by a committee last year, the country’s Treasury department said in a joint statement on Sunday.

It’s the first time Australia’s new Labor government has voiced intentions to regulate cryptocurrency for the first time since its win three months ago.

The exercise will inform new rules on digital assets while attempting to shield consumers from extreme market volatility and educate them on possible pitfalls. 

The department alluded to crypto advertisements, “plastered all over big sporting events,” which inspired its intentions to push ahead with regulation.

Crypto.com signed a sponsorship deal with the Australian Football League worth $25 million in January while Swyftx, a domestic exchange, signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed sum in February. 

In both instances, the deals allow for crypto advertisements to appear within sporting arenas and on TV across the country. “As it stands, the crypto sector is largely unregulated and we need to do some work to get the balance right,” the department said.

A formal licensing regime for digital asset businesses and custody obligations for third parties are to make up part of the reform overhaul, according to the Treasury.

Australian crypto industry sees hope in ‘token mapping’

Token mapping formed part of a recommendation by way of the “Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre Senate select committee” last year, spearheaded by a Liberal Party minister. 

As part of that hearing, the bi-partisan committee heard how Australian businesses were denied banking services due to their affiliation with the nascent asset class.

It also found the country had a fragmented approach to digital assets, including taxation.

“The additional benefits of token mapping are many,” Caroline Bowler, CEO of major Australian crypto exchange BTC Markets said in a statement to Blockworks. 

Bowler added: “It will provide greater clarity to crypto investors; aid companies in developing their own blockchain-based innovations; provide guidance to digital currency exchanges; as well as assist regulators in shaping an appropriate regulatory regime.”


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