Senate committee opposing crypto bill poses legislative roadblock in Australia

The committee found the proposed legislation could lead to regulatory arbitrage, potentially undermining the digital asset industry in Australia


Heath Doman/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks


Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee has recommended against passing a key digital asset bill, citing it as an inadequate vehicle for implementing regulation in the country. 

The Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill, first introduced by Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg in March, aimed to create a licensing framework for digital assets including cryptocurrencies and CBDCs.

The committee, while supportive of further regulation for the industry, raised several concerns on Monday, according to the committee’s report.

Notably, it emphasized Australia’s existing financial product regulations are well-developed but found that digital assets require further legislative attention.

“The bill lacks the detail and certainty that investors, consumers, and the industry should be provided with,” the committee said in its report.

Australia is currently in the midst of regulatory reform surrounding the asset class. A three-stage approach, under the incumbent Labor government, will initially bolster resources for the country’s securities regulator, ASIC. The aim will be to increase surveillance around registration.

The second and third stages will see the reformation of licensing and custody rules for digital asset service providers as part of findings from the “Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre Senate select committee” spearheaded by Bragg two years ago.

The committee’s recommendations on Monday will likely slow down the legislative process but aim to ensure a more stable and robust framework for digital asset regulation in Australia.

One of the major shortcomings of the legislation, the committee said, is its misalignment with international regulatory standards, a concern voiced by multiple inquiry participants.

Adding to the regulatory concerns, the committee expressed apprehension that the bill’s insufficient integration with the existing financial regulatory landscape could lead to regulatory arbitrage, potentially undermining the digital asset industry in Australia.

Despite its criticism, the committee commended the Australian Government’s recent initiatives to consult with industry stakeholders, terming them as “the most appropriate approach” for future digital asset regulation. 

“Well-designed digital assets regulation can strike the right balance between improved consumer protections and support for industry development,” the committee said.

While it has stalled further legislative progress, the committee is urging the government to continue its consultations to craft more suitable legislation.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg


In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.


BUZZ holds shares of Coinbase, Robinhood and MicroStrategy


Opinion: Even though I didn’t pay for my “Diamond Hands” burger with BTC, don’t let that fool you into thinking that crypto’s development is futile


The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally


While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders


Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume


DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit