By Grant Ferowich
The Australian Treasury released pending legislation on Tuesday allowing fintech and cryptocurrency entrepreneurs to carry on without dealing with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s licensing requirements.
According to the Treasury, firms can test crowd-funding services, like ICOs, and non-cash payment products, like tokens, for up to two years before the licensing exemption sunsets.
Australia also recently repealed double taxation when using cryptocurrency to pay for goods and services. Under the country’s general services tax, consumers were taxed on the purchase of cryptocurrency as well as when using cryptocurrency to pay for coffee.
The skeletal regulatory framework, or “enhanced regulatory sandbox” can be amended subject to public commentary until December 1.
For the uninitiated, a sandbox is basically a set of rules letting startups test their products and services without following some, or all, of the legal requirements that would normally apply. The sandbox is good for innovations because it reduces legal uncertainty and it’s useful for governments to learn how to create better regulations down the line.
“The enhanced regulatory sandbox will help firms overcome the initial regulatory burden and costs of licensing that may otherwise hinder innovative offerings,” Scott Morrison, treasurer for the commonwealth, said October 24.
Meanwhile, the head of Singapore’s central bank said “the currency itself does not pose the risk that warrants regulation” during an interview with Bloomberg Tuesday.
“It is know for a fact that cryptocurrencies are quite often abused for illicit financing purposes, so we do want to have [anti-money laundering controls] in place,” says Ravi Menon, managing director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. “So those requirements apply to the activity around cryptocurrency, rather than the cryptocurrency itself,” the banker noted.
On Monday, a Saudi Arabian central banker said cryptocurrency hasn’t matured enough to warrant regulation, echoing a sentiment expressed by the European Central Bank’s Mario Draghi last week.