Australian Big Banks Will Be In Trouble When Global Competition Comes With Blockchain Ready Solutions

April 24, 2021, 11:00 AM AEST - 1 year ago

We are seeing a surge in interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in Australia and worldwide. Still, many in the local crypto community fear that outdated Australian regulations and indifferent policymakers prevent local investors and businesses from getting involved.

Steve Vallas, CEO of Blockchain Australia, claims the country has the potential to become a leader in digital assets and blockchain development but is instead falling behind global competitors. “We’re well placed but that doesn’t mean we’re doing a good job,” he said.

“The big banks will absolutely have their lunch eaten when globally competitive businesses set up shop here,”

Steve Vallas for Business Insider Australia

At Blockchain Week Australia, Vallas warned that the big banks are dragging their feet when it comes to digital currencies, and they will have no choice but to take cryptocurrencies more seriously once foreign competitors come into our country.

Australia Needs Better Regulation

The surge in interest for cryptocurrencies has led Australian-based exchanges to record large trading volumes and activity in only six months. The number of corporate accounts, including SMFS, has grown in platforms like BTC Markets and Binance Australia.

However, despite the growing interest, local authorities have barely done anything to regulate the environment. The lack of clear regulatory laws in Australia forces crypto-enthusiast to look overseas for a better environment or, even worse, to invest in doubtful, shady crypto companies.

“They haven’t done anything because they don’t have to right now, but once the big international guys move into this space in Australia they won’t have a choice.”

— Said Adrian Przelozny, CEO of Independent Reserve [Business Insider Australia]

Philip Lowe, governor of the RBA, reiterated the bank’s intention for launching a national digital currency, but Przelozny claims big institutions are not taking crypto seriously.

Banks Affected by Lack of regulations

The lack of regulation on cryptos seems to affect banks as well. Ross McEwan, CEO of National Australia Bank —one of the four largest banks in the country— shared the concerns of the blockchain community.

We need to think, as a country, ‘what is crypto, how could it be used, and do you trade it?’. If it is something that should be traded safely, [how do] we make it safe?. Those are the issues we need to think about, and quite quickly, because people are making a livelihood out of trading.”

—Said McEwan, speaking to a House Committee

As previously reported, Australian authorities need to provide a better, updated infrastructure for the crypto market to compete globally, according to Caroline Bowler, CEO of BTC Markets.

“Australia needs regulatory oversight. I do think that regulatory clarity will help with other international projects and partners. We are strong advocates for proportional, appropriate regulation of our sector’s risks. With that, we can build a robust, responsive industry ready for the future.”

—Said Bowler.

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