兼容并蓄:从监管角度看澳大利亚是如何成为“加密货币洲” - 互联网金融门户 未央网

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兼容并蓄:从监管角度看澳大利亚是如何成为“加密货币洲”

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兼容并蓄:从监管角度看澳大利亚是如何成为“加密货币洲”

加密货币的本质决定了其在监管、控制以及扩展等方面与中心化系统的是不同的。中心化也不符合加密货币的主张,它们本应是完全去中心化的,因此不受许多规则的约束。

然而,随着主流采用率的增加、越来越多人进入加密货币市场,全球各国政府和监管机构的对加密货币的兴趣也变得越来越大。

G20峰会各国领袖曾就如何将这种去中心化的金融体系融入到当今全球社会中进行过探讨,并直接带动加密货币热度空前高涨。然而,有个国家正在开辟自己的道路,而不是边观望边徘徊。而这个国家就是澳大利亚。

澳大利亚在加密货币监管方面一直非常积极而直接,也实施过一些诸如要求加密货币交易所进行注册登记的行动。然而,他们针对加密货币制定的计划和法规并非不合理而具破坏性,相反,这些法规可能被视为对国家和加密货币总体而言,是有进步的。

澳大利亚市场

澳大利亚可能不是几大加密货币市场之一,但它仍是一个在不断发展的市场。就目前而言,澳大利亚比特币拥有量排全球第14位。

而日本的比特币量位居榜首,占全球拥有量的60%。对比日本,澳大利亚的市场相形见绌,但在全球范围内,澳大利亚仍是大玩家之一。

交易所监管与注册

4月11日,澳大利亚政府通过澳大利亚金融交易报告和分析中心(AUSTRAC)公布了实施加密货币交易新规的具体计划。声明中说:“位于澳大利亚的数字货币交易所现在必须在澳大利亚注册登记,并遵守政府的反洗钱和反恐怖主义筹资法且需履行报告义务。”

他们已经授权了三家加密货币交易所,墨尔本的BTC Markets是首家获得授权的。而总部位于悉尼的独立储备银行是澳大利亚数字商业协会(ADCA)的另一支柱。AUSTRAC规定了5月14日为他国公司规范的最后期限。

另一家位于墨尔本的交易所Blockbid是第三个获得AUSTRAC许可证的,这是在Blockbid即将发布Beta测试版之前获得的,该公司计划在2019年正式推出Blockbid。

通常政府对加密货币的监管主要目的是反洗钱和反恐怖主义融资,因为这些活动是匿名性、全球性的。不过该声明指出,“监管还将有助于增强公众及消费者对该行业的信心,”AUSTRAC首席执行官Nicole Rose评论道。

这才是澳大利亚监管该国加密货币的关键所在。该国正在努力保护公民和财政部门,但同时也在试图发展和融合这项技术。

澳大利亚税务局也采取了切实措施,控制加密货币应纳税、监管加密货币消费。澳大利亚税务局(ATO)已利用数据匹配和“100%识别检查”技术来追踪加密货币投资者,还要求其服从双边税收协定和反洗钱承诺,以从传统匿名加密货币领域和市场中获取更多信息,再次证明了他们的监管政策是跟进加密货币发展脚步的。

澳大利亚最近对加密货币交易所的授权表明,其政府正试图介入并控制本国的加密货币。这些许可证也许是政府对加密货币采取监管的切实证据,但澳大利亚已经开始看好加密货币。

法定货币

澳大利亚跟随日本之后,宣布比特币等加密货币为法定货币。日本于2016年3月宣布比特币为法定货币,而澳大利亚则在2017年7月1日宣布的。

停止征税

随着人们对数字货币兴趣的增长,澳大利亚监管机构对加密货币的看法也在不断发展。2017年9月20日,澳大利亚监管机构宣布将取消其对数字货币双重征税的初始法律。根据澳大利亚商品服务税(GST)的规定,该法案停止了对购买比特币等其他加密货币征税的做法。

ICO

首次代币发行(ICO)也在澳大利亚监管机构的眼皮之下,加密货币的这一方面的活动往往会受到诸如美国证券交易委员会等监管机构的严厉批评,中国也在2017年9月彻底禁止了这一活动。而就在中国采取行动后不久的2017年10月,澳大利亚证券和投资委员会(ASIC)推出了ICO指导方针。

其指导方针规定,法律看待ICO行为取决于其代币的本质结构,无论其是基于安全还是基于效用的,也就是说代币发行归类于澳大利亚消费者法律,即使ICO结构化的公司不提供金融产品,也将根据该国公司法对其进行监管。

他们的立场依然很坚定,至少其推出的指导方针可以规范ICO活动。

来自不同行业的回应

这些监管规定很可能会引起加密货币相关公司的不满,因为他们突然需要遵守一大批新规则,而这些规则在他们开始营业的时候根本就不存在。

但大多数情况下,来自澳大利亚不同行业的回应相当积极。

澳大利亚数字商业协会(ADCA)主席Loretta Joseph提到其协会是如何与政府合作以实现权衡的 :

“在过去的18个月中,ADCA与澳大利亚政府和监管机构AUSTRAC密切合作,为需要指导和正式监管的行业提供清晰规则及进行监管,以便让行业参与者都遵守标准。”

“澳大利亚作为一个成熟的市场,拥有开放创新的监管机构和政府,可以成为率先应用区块链技术的领导者。”

反驳泡沫论

显而易见,这些法规对澳大利亚政府十分有利。因为澳大利亚政府正在强化反洗钱和恐怖主义融资的力度,但加密货币相关企业和使用加密货币的各行各业也因此受益。然而,这种程度的监管对加密货币本身有着巨大的影响。

随着加密货币使用率的提高、大众媒体的炒作,推动人们(例如那些观看Ellen DeGeneres、John Oliver节目的人)开始了解加密货币,感觉他们现在离不开这个领域了。然而,他们关注的越多也意味着他们对加密货币相关事件、价格波动的意见也越多。

关于比特币泡沫的讨论,澳大利亚的这种举动可能证明了它的存在,澳大利亚的福布斯作者James Nguyen是这么看的。

Nguyen解释了澳大利亚是如何花时间和精力为新兴技术制定新立法的。首先表明,加密货币正在快速发展,以至于它们已经超出了传统法规的监管范围;其次,澳大利亚认为需要对它认为不会消失的事物积极立法:

“通过投资研究和立法,澳大利亚政府在试图回答这些问题的同时,表明了其致力于加密货币的长期发展。政府有责任保护其成员,因此通过修改立法以包容加密货币,而不是禁止它们,这标志着它对这一资产类别未来的信念,超越了市场当前的繁荣。”

发展环境

畏缩、逃避监管的日子一去不复返了。银行过去常试图打倒比特币,因为担心比特币会侵犯到他们的业务,而以监管为武器。

如果使用加密货币成为主流,这将会引发许多人认为可能出现的金融革命。如果加密货币在法律范围内发展,将走得更远。

达世币是一种著名的加密货币,其目标是成为被全球采纳的快速支付系统,达世公司首席执行官Ryan Taylor相信加密货币行业现在正渴望监管的到来,并且由于现在澳大利亚的加密货币交易所已经被给予了发展指导方针,所以再也不会出现混乱了。

达世公司总部可能设在美国,但其在欧洲拥有强大的影响力,那里有许多达世币主节点。由于加密货币影响是全球性的,所以积极的加密货币监管制度至关重要。

“像了解你的客户(KYC)和反洗钱规则,我们在其它市场(如美国)也见过。这一声明的积极方面是,澳大利亚当局通过指定确切的监管机构来提供更高的监管确定性,而加密货币交易所也需要积极跟进。随着澳大利亚市场向新的监管体制过渡,至于未来六个月会发生什么,这将是一件有趣的事情。”

“身处该行业,我们一直在要求监管机构对加密货币交易所进行明确监管,并对实施这些改革抱有诚意。监管法规看似按计划进行,但直到我们看到它如何实施之前,我们无法做出判断。”

虽然澳大利亚开创了先例,但其他国家并不一定会效仿。G20会议表明,当他们表示需要就监管达成共识时,巴西代表立即表示,他们很可能不会在今年7月宣布遵守20国集团(G20)的建议。

Coinsource公司总法律顾问、美国司法部前律师Arnold Spencer也认为这是一个国家采取的积极行动,但并不认为这意味着争议的结束。

“澳大利亚的新法规反映了全球的流行趋势,越来越多国家开始监控企业及其客户购买和销售数字货币的行为,以应对反洗钱问题,像这样的规定将会被广泛采用。”

“不幸的是,这一切都是被动的,这些新数字货币法规都是非常零碎的,一个国家在规范交易所,一个国家在规范ICO,另一个国际在制定新的税收政策,似乎没有一个国家制定了全面而具有前瞻性的数字货币监管策略。”

澳大利亚已认为加密货币具有很大的潜力。它包容区块链技术,用数字代币进行金融升级,几乎将自己定位为“抢占了市场先机”。 如果澳大利亚人能够更早地将其法规付诸实施,他们就能建立起一个对他们有利的监管体系,并且能够领先于那些尚未作出决定的国家。

The very nature of cryptocurrencies dictate that regulation, control, and by extension, a centralized system, do not fit in with what they stand for. They are supposed to be totally decentralized, and therefore not dictated by many rules.

This made a lot of sense when cryptocurrencies were not in the spotlight, and not a major factor on the world stage. However, as mainstream adoption has increased, and more individuals have entered the market, so has the interest from governments and regulators around the world.

This has culminated with the G20 summit sitting down and discussing how to fit this decentralized financial system into today’s global society. However, one nation is forging its own path, not hanging around with a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude.

Australia has been very direct and positive in terms of cryptocurrency regulation and is already implementing some of its bigger plans, like exchange registration. However, their plans and rules relating to cryptocurrencies are not unreasonable, stifling, or damaging, rather, they could be viewed as progressive and potentially uplifting for both the country and cryptocurrencies in general.

Australian markets

Australia may not be one of the biggest markets for Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies, but it is a growing one. As it stands, Australia is ranked 14th globally for BTC volume by currency. At time of publishing, the Australian dollar (AUD) saw volumes of AUD $2,810,190, or 276 BTC over a 24 hour period.

To put that in perspective, Japan sits on top, with a 60 percent dominance, processing 30,1404 BTC over 24 hours. Australia’s market activities pale in comparison to Japan’s, but globally, they are a rather large player.

Exchange regulation and licensing

On April 11, the Australian government, through the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), announced tangible plans to implement new rules on cryptocurrency exchanges. The major one being that: “Digital currency exchanges (DCE), with a business operation located in Australia must now register with AUSTRAC and meet the Government’s AML [anti money laundering]/CTF [counter terrorism financing] compliance and reporting obligations,” the announcement read.

They have already licensed three exchanges - BTC Markets, in Melbourne being the first, and Sydney-based Independent Reserve being another underpinned by the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA). AUSTRAC have set a deadline of May 14 for the rest of those within the country to comply.

Blockbid, another Melbourne based exchange, became the third of these exchanges to gain an AUSTRAC license, but this comes before Blockbid’s upcoming Beta launch, furthering the company’s plans to hold a full-scale launch of Blockbid in 2019.

As is often the case with governmental regulations of cryptocurrencies, the main aim is to stop money laundering and terrorism financing through cryptocurrencies because of their anonymous and global nature. However, the report states that “regulation will also help strengthen public and consumer confidence in the sector,” AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose commented.

That truly is the crux of Australia’s attempts to regulate cryptocurrency in the country. The country is trying to protect citizens, and financial sector, but at the same time, trying to grow and incorporate the technology.

Exchanges leading the way

This latest move by Australia to licence exchanges indicates that the government is trying to get involved and in control of cryptocurrencies in their country. These licences may be tangible evidence of cryptocurrency regulation, but Australia has built up a positive outlook on digital currencies.

Real money

Australia followed Japan in declaring Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, as legal tender. Japan’s move in declaring Bitcoin as legal tender came in March 2016, while Australia followed that precedent on July 1, 2017.

Taxation

Australian regulators’ opinions on cryptocurrencies have also grown and expanded as the interest in digital currencies has taken off. On September 20, 2017, it was announced that Australia would be taking away their initial law on double taxation for the digital currency. The legal bill ended the practice of taxing the purchase of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies according to the Australian goods and services tax (GST).

ICO

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have also been in their sights, with this facet of the cryptocurrency space often heavily criticized by regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA, and the outright ban in China, back in Sept. 2017. Soon after China’s move, In Oct. 2017, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) launched its own set of guidelines for ICOs to follow.

The guidelines state that the legal treatment for the usage of ICOs depend on the natural structure of the tokens, be they security or utility based, that is to say token sales are categorized under general Australian consumer law given, that the ICO structured company is not offering financial products, as this will be regulated under the country's Corporations Act.

Their stance was still strong, but their guidelines were at least available for ICOs to follow, letting companies deciding on going down this path where they stood depending on what type of tokens they built.

Taxation

The Australian tax office has taken tangible steps to regulate and control taxable growth and expenditure with cryptocurrencies. These steps include the Australian Tax Office (ATO) using data matching and “100-point identification checks" to track down cryptocurrency investors, as well as bilateral tax treaties and anti-money laundering commitments to get more information out of the traditionally anonymous crypto sphere and markets, proving again how thorough, and determined, they are to keep cryptocurrencies in line with their policies.

Response from industries?

All this firm and direct regulation could well get up the noses of those operating within the cryptocurrency space as they suddenly have a bevy of new rules to follow that were not even in place when they were setting up shop.

But, for the most part, the response from different industries in Australia has been positive.

Loretta Joseph, chair of the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA) mentioned how her organization worked with the government in order to get a fair balance:

"The ADCA worked very closely over the last 18 months with the Australian government and regulators, AUSTRAC, to bring clarity and oversight to an industry that needed guidance and formal regulation in order to allow industry players to adhere to standards.”

“Australia, as a mature market with one regulator who is open to innovation and a government with an innovation agenda, can be a clear leader in the responsible adoption of blockchain technology."

Disproving the bubble talk

It is all quite obvious why these regulations are good for the Australian government, who are fighting perceived threats of money laundering and terrorist funding, but crypto businesses and the different industries that utilize cryptocurrencies, also are benefiting. More so though, this level of regulation has massive implications for the cryptocurrencies themselves.

With the rise in adoption, mass media appeal, hype and generally a push for every day people, such as those watching Ellen DeGeneres’ show, as well as John Oliver’s, to understand cryptocurrencies, the feeling is that they won't be going away now. However, the more attention they bring also means more opinions on movements and fluctuations.

Bubble talk surrounds Bitcoin, however, such moves by Australia may actually prove it to be otherwise, this is the opinion of Australian crypto writer for Forbes, James Nguyen.

Nguyen explains how Australia has taken time and effort to build new legislation around an emerging technology. It shows, firstly, that cryptocurrencies are moving so fast that they have outgrown legacy regulations, and secondly, that Australia sees a need for active legislation on something it predicts will not go away:

“By investing resources in research and new legislation, Australia’s government shows its commitment to the perceived longevity of cryptocurrencies as it tries to answer these questions.

The government has a responsibility to protect its members and thus by amending legislation to include cryptocurrencies, rather than prohibiting them, it signals a belief of a future for the asset class beyond the market’s current exuberance.”

Good climate

Gone are the days of cowering and shunning regulations for the mere fact that they infringe on some sort of exaggerated financial liberation. Banks have often tried to bring down Bitcoin in fear of them infringing on their business, using regulation as their weapon.

If cryptocurrencies are to be mainstream and adopted, and cause the financial revolution that many believe is possible, they will go a lot further in this quest if they operate within the laws.

Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash, a prominent cryptocurrency that has goals of being globally adopted as a speedy payment system, believes that the industry, as it stands, is hungry for cryptocurrency regulation, and with exchanges in Australia now being given guidelines, there can be no more confusion.

Dash may be based in the USA, and have a strong presence in Europe, with many master nodes based there, but positive cryptocurrency regulations play a big role globally, as digital currencies are global systems.

"These are Know Your Customer (KYC) and AML rules that we've seen in other markets, such as the United States. The positive aspect of this announcement is that Australian authorities are providing increased regulatory certainty by designating the exact regulatory body that cryptocurrency exchanges will need to engage with moving forward. It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next six months as the Australian market transitions to this new regulatory regime.”

“As an industry, we've been asking for regulatory clarity for the exchanges, and good faith in implementing these changes. This regulation seems to go in that line, but until we see how it is implemented we can't fully judge."

Although Australia is just one country, one country leading the way can set a precedent, but it is not necessarily true that others will follow. The G20 proved that when they said that they need to come to a general agreement on reguations, but Brazil indicated straight away that they will most likely not follow the G20 recommendations, when they are announced in July this year.

Arnold Spencer, Coinsource general counsel and former attorney for the US Department of Justice also sees it as a positive move emanating from one country, but is not convinced that this is the be-all and end-all.

"Australia’s new regulations reflect broader trends. Countries across the globe are increasingly monitoring businesses and their customers that buy and sell digital currencies to address money laundering concerns. Regulations like these will lead to widespread adoption.”

"Unfortunately, it’s all reactive. All these new efforts to adopt digital currency regulations are piecemeal. One country passes regulations for exchanges. Another country adopts policies for ICOs. A third country passes new tax policies. But no one seems to have a comprehensive, forward-thinking digital currency strategy."

Australia has decided that there is a lot of potential in cryptocurrency.  By encompassing Blockchain, as well as financial upgrades with digital tokens, they are setting themselves up almost as a ‘first-to-market’. If the Australians can get their regulations into force earlier, they can grow a system that works for them and one that will be ahead of all others who are still undecided.


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