Hurray to all Bitcoin users and operators. Well, at least for the ones in Australia at least. According to the ironically named ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission), digital currencies such as Bitcoin are not a financial instrument which means users and operators to no need licenses to use or store said Bitcoins.
At least that is what it comes across as at first sight. These statements by ASIC depend on the companies service with cryptocurrencies. For example, if the business connects Bitcoin and fiat, such as Coinbase, the business will still most likely require licenses to operate legally.
In fact, ASIC highlights two prominent business which are excellent examples of when a license is needed to operate legally. These two companies would be CoinJar and Living Room of Satoshi, which are both significant Bitcoin companies operating in Australia.
These regulations are still new, and I would not be surprised if they were to be changed or altered in the near future. Regulators should not make regulations too strict in which they discourage new startups from coming to life.
These statements are in line with previous statements from Australia officials, such as the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian Taxation Office, and the National Australia Bank. For example, the ATO “has announced that it intends to work bitcoin capital gains and sales tax guidelines into its system for users to declare on tax returns this year”. The NAB has “decided to dissociate itself from bitcoin, informing bitcoin-related customers it will be closing their accounts next month”, as of April 9th of this year.
Companies are already allowed to trade Bitcoins, as well as buying or mining them which isn’t illegal. These new regulations and guidelines will allow users of cryptocurrency to feel more at ease with using Bitcoin as well as other digital currencies, which should pave the way for other governments as an example. While these guidelines are encouraging, we must remember that they are temporary, and could change at any moment. With these statements in set, companies will be able to use Bitcoin easier than before, at least in Australia.