Senate inquiry supports digital and crypto businesses in Australia

Experienced Australian based global fintech, Change Financial, welcomes the proactive approach adopted by Senator Andrew Bragg’s Select Committee in its final report on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre tabled on Wednesday night.

The report’s recommendations for licencing digital currency exchanges and establishing a clear custody or depositary scheme for digital assets in Australia, gives credence to cryptocurrency as a viable currency and payment method. It would also provide cryptocurrency investors with some much-needed consumer protection.

The pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of finance while the global appetite for ease of use and efficiency in payment systems has increased from both the end customer and the provider.

The Bragg report’s recommendation that Treasury should lead a policy review to assess the viability of a retail, central bank-issued, digital currency for Australia would also put the nation on a par with many other countries in the emerging global digital economy.

A Finder survey, released on October 17, found a staggering 18% of Australians already own some form of crypto – one of the highest rates in the world.

Of the nearly 1 in 5 adults in Australia who own some form of crypto, Finder found bitcoin is the most popular coin; Ethereum is the second most popular coin while cardano came third. Two other cryptos Australians currently hold are dogecoin and binance coin.

Bragg’s bipartisan recommendations, if adopted, would bring some welcome regulation to this sector where currently there is hardly any enforceable rules and where local banks have largely avoided the sector.

The lack of regulations has constrained mainstream adoption of crypto, however we have seen countries in Latin America, like El Salvador, embrace cryptocurrencies and support growth.

In Australia, Change is currently working with several start-ups to bridge the gap between crypto exchanges and traditional payment infrastructure and networks using our Payments as a Service platform.

The ability to link a physical or digital card to crypto wallets is essential for driving payment growth and innovation in Australia. It will also open up opportunities for the “un” or “underbanked” as well as faster cross-border payments

Just like our current software as a service (SaaS) model that connects existing licensed banks with modern application programming interface (API) driven businesses and allows the end customer to use eftpos, Mastercard, Visa, and AMEX as well as connect to payment networks via Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay.

The ability for businesses to embrace cryptocurrency relies on support for existing payments technology to power seamless transactions.

Change currently manages and processes more than 16 million virtual, credit, debit and prepaid cards worldwide, serving 136 clients in 36 countries.

By Vinnie D’Alessandro, Chief Product Officer of Change Financial

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