SYDNEY, AAP – Financial technology start-ups have been warned against complacency amid the “buzz and hype” of reform promised by a federal government facing a tough election.

Regulatory uncertainty is still one of the biggest challenges for crypto, according to the former federal official behind the national blockchain road map.

Keynote speaker Chloe White, now managing director of Genesis Block, warned an industry conference on Tuesday against becoming complacent.

Blockchain, and the digital assets and cryptocurrency that it spawns, were the focus of a parliamentary inquiry that culminated in a package of regulatory work with a 2022 timetable.

“There’s a lot of buzz and hype at the moment about all the reform that has been promised by the government,” Ms White told Blockchain Week.


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“It’s not a time to rest on your laurels, or to think compliance is not as important as it was before.”

Ms White, strategic policy advisor to the peak body Blockchain Australia, said the industry needed to stay on top of the policy cycle, even when sentiment is good.

“CEOs and teams do find it really hard to weight how risk is going to affect them when the pipeline of reform is quite uncertain, and the timelines for that reform are also quite uncertain, with us being in an election year now.”

She warned that jurisdictions around the world are increasingly rolling out progressive policies that are friendly to startups and investment, potentially luring Australian talent and money.

United States President Joe Biden’s new executive order on cryptocurrency directs US agencies and regulators to adjust to the growing digital asset sector and evolving financial markets.

In Australia, new crypto exchange asset licensing and custody requirements have been released this week for industry feedback by May.

The Board of Taxation will be reviewing tax arrangements for digital assets, working to a December deadline.

Chair of federal parliament’s financial and regulatory technology inquiry Andrew Bragg told the conference on Monday that Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to clean out its regulatory settings.

Labor is yet to reveal a crypto policy ahead of an expected mid-May election.