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Australia's Treasury to Include Stablecoin Rules in Crypto Bill Draft, ASIC's Warning For Crypto Entities

  • Australia's regulators are looking to include stablecoin legislation into its legislative bill for the digital assets sector.

  • A representative of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said they had held meetings with regulators like the SEC about their legal positions on crypto.

Australia's regulators have provided rare updates on their plans for the digital assets sector, including plans to introduce a draft framework for stablecoins and hinted that more enforcement is on its way against unlicensed entities during an event in Sydney on Wednesday.

The event, Digital Assets: Anchoring the Digital Economy, was hosted by Blockchain Australia, the nation's policy body for the industry.

Australia's Treasury previously announced plans to release draft legislation to cover licensing and custody rules for crypto asset providers by the end of 2024. Now, that draft could include a framework to regulate stablecoins.

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"The digital asset platform reforms have been allocated a drafting spot with The Office of Parliamentary Counsel (responsible for drafting and publishing Australian laws) that would see the exposure draft released before the end of this year," said Chris Adamek, director of the Australian Treasury's digital asset policy unit.

"Within that drafting slot, there are various reforms and each has a different priority to the payments reforms, which would include our proposed framework for regulating stablecoins sit within that same slot, and they'll be sort of done one after the other. Given that overlap, reps (representatives) are hoping that both of them will be released at the same time."

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said it was assisting the government in providing advice to colleagues in the Treasury and that it was having regular meetings with peers across the world including the EU, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and North America to understand more about the cases they have filed against digital asset firms.

"We are actively monitoring cases overseas and interacting regularly with our overseas peers," said Dr Rhys Bollen, senior executive leader of digital assets at ASIC. "We had an hour on the phone with the SEC this morning talking about some of the work that they're doing and what we can learn from that. We have run half a dozen (cases) already that interact with the digital assets and crypto assets base and we do have more."

Additionally, ASIC's representative said it has and will provide guidance but it is also subject to the law, warning crypto entities to fall in line with the precedents set in the recent cases it has filed against crypto entities in front of an audience of industry goers.

"When did you last review the tokens that you list on your platform? When was the last time you reviewed the products and services that you are making available? How recently have you consulted with your lawyers about where the law currently sees the most current understanding based on cases over the last six months or so. If you haven't done that in the last four months you need to consider where you are," Bollen said.

Bollen also said ASIC would be appealing recent judgements that, at least in part, were in favor of crypto entities such as Block Earner and BPS Financial Pty Ltd (BPS). In recent times, ASIC has sued Binance Australia and social investing platform eToro, while major banks of the nation have imposed partial restrictions on crypto citing scams.

Blockchain Australia has now rebranded to become the Digital Economy Council of Australia (DECA) and will include a membership category for banks.

Read More: Australia's First Spot Bitcoin ETF With Direct BTC Holdings to Go Live on Tuesday