Australian Senator Warns Banks Not To “Act Like a Bunch of Ostriches” When Regulating Bitcoin

Journalist:
October 20, 2014

Australian Bitcoiners seems to have a champion within the government, a rare sight that may have the potential to reverse Australia’s current Bitcoin regulatory haze. Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, the chairman of the Australian Senate’s Economic References Committee, has urged a list of 74 organizations and companies from around the world to provide comment to his committee’s inquiry into digital currencies.

Earlier this month, the Australian Senate revealed that it was launching an investigation into Bitcoin with a finalized report scheduled for release on 3/15/15.  Senator Dastyari told the Australian ­Financial Review:

The fact is the banking sector can’t act like a bunch of ostriches and stick their heads in the sand and pretend these digital currencies aren’t a real thing that’s heading their way – it is. Too often you find the banking ­sector has a tendency to try and pretend that change isn’t coming down the pipeline, in a bid to protect what is their own market position.

Also read: ADCCA Welcomes Australian Senate Inquiry Into Bitcoin

Australian Senate Inquiry Into Bitcoin Trudges Forward

According to Australian media, the list of contacted companies include PayPal, which recently started experimenting with Bitcoin and other digital currencies, as well as the Bitcoin Foundation, an American organization that has been campaigning for Bitcoin’s rights under the BitLicense in New York. Other queried organizations include the Westpac Banking Corp, ANZ Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and the National Australia Bank (NAB). Notably, the NAB previously provided banking services for both Chinese and European Bitcoin exchanges; however, those relationships were quickly terminated in the regulatory turmoil and ostrich-emulation that has prompted Senator Dastyari to both launch an inquiry and force his colleagues to pay attention. Australian banks have also revealed that they might submit one comment under the Australian Banker’s Association.

The Bitcoin community in Australia has chafed under the Australian Tax Office’s decision that Bitcoin is an intangible asset and somehow subject to double goods and services tax. As a result of current “consequence-of-ostrich-like-behaviour” regulations, Australian Bitcoin services such as The Living Room of Satoshi, which had previously provided much needed services to the local community, have been forced to shut down.

What do you think about the future of Bitcoin in Australia? Comment below!

Images from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): October 20, 2014 03:03

Caleb Chen @bitxbitxbitcoin

Caleb is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied Economics, East Asian Studies, and Mathematics. He is currently pursuing his MSc in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia.