Australian politicians from rival political parties have unitedly urged Australia’s central bank to deem bitcoin as an official, legal form of currency.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald , Labor senator Sam Dastyari and Liberal senator Jane Hume have come together to call on the Reserve Bank to ‘embrace bitcoins as an official form of currency or risk the future competitiveness of Australia’s $145 billion/year financial services industry.”
The refreshing call from politicians to and legalize bitcoin in Australia comes at a time when the country is pushing reforms to existing AML/CTF (Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Terrorism Financing) legislation that will regulate local bitcoin exchanges in the country. Earlier in June, Labor party leader Bill Shorten called for increased scrutiny of bitcoin transactions in the country after linking the cryptocurrency with terrorism financing, despite the lack of any evidence for such claims.
In taking a different tone from his party leader, Labor senator Dastyari has been a vocal proponent for bitcoin and has even called for Australia to develop its own official digital currency based on a blockchain. He fears Australia could risk falling behind competitive Asian economies if the country-continent missed the opportunity of taking a proactive lead in embracing the next generation of financial innovation and services.
As reported by the SMH, he stated:
The question for Australia is are we going to follow or are we going to lead. We need to find a bipartisan way of doing this. We can’t compete with our Asian neighbours when it comes to producing cheap goods and services anymore. We can compete when it comes to financial services but that is going to mean big, bold decisions.
Backing the development of blockchain technology as the next major frontier in the technological revolution, Liberal senator Hume envisions a sweeping transformational change bought on by the decentralized innovation in society.
Speaking to an audience of 120 digital currency supporters in the Australian Parliament this week, she stated:
The opportunities for government, academia, and the private sector are enormous.
Bitcoin adopters in Australia have felt respite in recent times, with authorities finally putting an end to the double taxation of digital currency-related transactions in this year’s federal budget. There has been a marked increase in adoption and usage of bitcoin in the country, with one payments startup now processing upwards of $5 million in household bills with the cryptocurrency.
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