Blockchain Australia’s New CEO Calls for Guidance from Other Countries
Blockchain Australia’s new CEO, Simon Callaghan, is hoping the Federal Government will look to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Singapore for guidance on crypto regulation, rather than the United States.
In his new role, Callaghan is aiming to guide the formulation of regulations related to cryptocurrency in the country and to prevent any similar actions to those of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – which has filed lawsuits against the two largest exchanges and classified at least 68 tokens as securities.
“Using enforcement as the only means of regulation is akin to viewing every problem as a nail to be hammered. This is not the best approach for Australia to take.”
On June 26, Callaghan was declared the new CEO of the leading industry organization. He had been the digital assets program lead for Cambridge University and a co-founder of corporate service provider MOOPS Tech prior to this.
Callaghan previously held the role of Asia lead for crypto lender Celsius for a year, but he departed several months before the firm’s downfall. Additionally, he had a short period of time at crypto lender Vauld.
His selection follows a period of uncertainty that began after the former CEO and champion of the sector, Steve Vallas, left in July 2022. Laura Mercurio briefly assumed the role of CEO in September of last year, however, she and the organisation parted ways shortly afterwards due to a divergence of ideas, leaving the Australian blockchain industry without a spokesperson for almost a year.
In his new role, Callaghan will be the spokesperson for the association’s 112 members, which include Binance Australia, Circle, Ripple, and Mastercard. All of them are advocating for clearer regulations, with Callaghan adding his voice to the chorus.
Callaghan informed Cointelegraph that the Australian government has not adopted a rigorous approach to crypto, unlike the American regulators and the Biden administration.
The Treasury is conducting a “token mapping exercise” to classify different digital assets prior to any legislation, which will not be expected until 2024 or later.
“This current government has not taken a definitive stance on the matter. This could be because they are taking a thoughtful approach, which I firmly believe is the right thing to do,” he remarked.
He hopes legislators will be inspired by the regulatory schemes being developed by Singapore, Hong Kong, and the U.K., which seek to achieve a balance between innovation and consumer protection.
“They recognize the advantages that the technology, innovation, and job opportunities bring, as well as the advantages to the wider finance industry.”
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Reports in June indicated that the Hong Kong central bank had been applying pressure to large banks to take on crypto exchanges as customers, as the city seeks to draw in international crypto entities and investors.
Callaghan commented that it was the correct approach for the Hong Kong monetary authorities to urge banks to collaborate with the sector.
In 2021, an Australian Senate committee report on digital assets proposed that crypto firms should have the right to appeal debanking decisions and that banks should be obligated to thoroughly examine firms instead of implementing a sweeping prohibition on the industry.
Two Australian banks, however, recently put a stop to, limited, and completely blocked certain payments to local cryptocurrency exchanges, citing the increasing risk of financial fraud.
Callaghan proclaimed that it is not possible to label all crypto as a scam and that data should be examined, and he disclosed that he has already set up meetings with the banks in the upcoming weeks to gain a better understanding of their stance.
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