Australia’s blockchain and cryptocurrency companies need more support from the federal government and regulators to boost confidence within the country’s business sector, according to Steve Vallas, CEO of advocacy body Blockchain Australia.
Speaking at the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology on Thursday, Vallas said Australia has a blockchain “base” from which it can accelerate development and that his organization is now “signaling” that the technology is something people “should be investing in.”
Vallas pointed to Australia’s lack of blockchain innovation in the last few years, saying it hadn’t harmed the country’s ecosystem. However, “I think we need more signals from regulators … that they’re willing to discuss this subject matter with people who are well versed in it,” he said.
The Senate Committee is currently assessing the potential for blockchain technology in a commercial and government setting following the country’s National Blockchain Roadmap launch in February last year. The roadmap, announced via the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, sets out expectations of a national strategy aiming to capture blockchain’s value for business-related activity.
Vallas said some financial authorities across the globe, such as the EU, the U.K. and the U.S., are providing more guidance to businesses looking to use or promote blockchain and digital assets, particularly within the banking sector.
While regulators like the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are saying to banks they can custody crypto assets and should be banking cryptocurrency companies, “Those signals are largely absent from the Australian market,” he said.