Australia has another try in the blockchain ecosystem

Oliver Noah

Australia is one of the leading countries in the tech spheres. While definitely not a tech hub, and nor the biggest innovator, what it definitely is, Australia is one of the first to adopt and implement new technological changes. Australia is almost never afraid to try out something new or something untested, and in fact, the opposite is true, the doors to the innovations are often open. 

The same is the case with the blockchain in Australia. The industry body representing the local businesses, as well as individuals participating in the tech industry, have once again called upon the government and other regulatory authorities to turn their heads and ears towards the blockchain industry in the country, and participate more in the development of the local blockchain ecosystem. This was not the first time that the industry representatives are shouting out for the helping hand, though so far it does not seem like they have gained any recognition or attention. 

The Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology CEO, Steve Vallas, is the person to speak openly about the lack of governmental support for the blockchain ecosystem. His initiative is currently undergoing the second round reviewing process, which is focused on the potential of fintech and RegTech sectors. He also stated that the cornerstone in whole this topic is confidence. 

Vallas is a great enthusiast of his country and its future. He is actively involved in the development process and is willing to make it the front going among many European countries. In his interview, he outlines that Australia is well-placed to become a tech-savvy economy, especially in the blockchain space. Though one of the biggest reasons why he is seeking additional outsource help is the massive stagnation over the past several years. 

The CEO said that the National Blockchain Roadmap, which was announced in February last year, was the first of those many steps and that he has huge confidence in the blockchain ecosystem of Australia. Though he noted that more needed to be done in order to further support the blockchain in the country. 

“We are signaling, across the country and to the states, that this is something that people should be investing in,” he said. “That sort of approach needs to be coordinated across other government departments; I think we need more signals from regulators in particular that they’re willing to discuss this subject matter with people who are well versed in it.”

Vallas is assured that the governments and the regulatory authorities all over the world are more concerned about the blockchain ecosystem internationally, rather than the local government. He also said that all the rest of governments have been signaling more strongly to business and the banking sector that they should be banking crypto-businesses and encouraging the use of technology. 

“Those things, collectively, say: ‘Business, you should be paying attention to this, you should be investigating it.’ Those signals are largely absent from the Australian market,” Steve Vallas said. He also added that it is extremely uncomfortable to communicate and negotiate with the local banks and regulators. Though he believes that the opportunity to implement the policies and to prioritize the blockchain industry and payment over anything else should benefit the country a lot. 

“People are happy to talk about blockchain if they decouple from financial services and the impact on the financial services industry and RegTech. That decoupling isn’t necessary,” he said. “I think there should be active consultation there.”

While being very open about the crypto industry in Australia, it is very vivid that the crypto sector in the country is partially developed, and because of the massive stagnation it has experienced throughout past time, it is less attractive for investors to look at. 

“I think everyone knows that we have a very good regulatory framework, but the sign doesn’t say ‘Open for business’ with respect to this technology, so, when we look at some of the custodian businesses and the like that are taking shape in the United States, they’re not naturally coming to Australia because no one is saying that this is a welcoming environment and you can trust our regulatory framework and we’re open to a conversation about what these businesses could do in Australia,” he said.

As far as it seems, Vallas is not the only one who is so passionately and actively involved in the popularization of the blockchain ecosystem in the country. For him, the challenges will be the Australian regulators, who stay relatively reluctant about the further steps. “Our recommendation is that governments aid the transition to a digital economy by using and improving regulatory reform tools, such as sandboxes, to facilitate the process of regulatory evolution,” Steve Vallas said.