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Cryptocurrency in Australia - statistics & facts

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that has become a lucrative investment market in recent years. The value of some of these virtual currencies, of which there are thousands globally, can be in the tens of thousands of U.S. dollars. A form of digital payment, it uses an online ledger with cryptography to secure online transactions. The technology used is called blockchain, a decentralized system that manages and records transactions across many computers, recording the transaction in a ledger that all users have access to. While this doesn’t make it immune to hacking, it is this characteristic that makes blockchain technology more secure than other digital payment methods.

Cryptocurrency can be used to purchase goods, services, or traded on cryptocurrency exchanges. The latter of these uses is responsible for most of the interest in cryptocurrency, with investors looking to make large profits by trading. Globally, the biggest cryptocurrencies based on market cap include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.

The Australian cryptocurrency consumer

In Australia, almost 1 in 5 people own some type of cryptocurrency. The market has developed rapidly, reflected in increasing trading volumes on exchanges as well as a significant spike in the daily active users of cryptocurrency wallet apps. The share of men who own cryptocurrency is more than double the share of women, and ownership is more common among millennials than other age groups. The type of bitcoin owned is comparable with global trends, with Bitcoin accounting for the largest share. Despite an uptake in cryptocurrency trading, the number of businesses in Australia that either have a cryptocurrency ATM or offer crypto as an in-store payment method is still relatively low across all industries.

Cryptocurrency regulation and challenges in Australia

While cryptocurrency trading is legal in the country, it is not regulated by the Australian government, and cryptocurrency itself is not yet legal tender. The lack of regulation as well as market volatility are seen as a few of many challenges in investing in cryptocurrency in Australia. While unregulated, there is some policy in place around the crypto market. Cryptocurrency is considered property under the law in Australia, which means it is subject to capital gains tax for consumers and treated as trading stock for businesses. Cryptocurrencies have also been included in the country’s anti-money laundering framework, meaning exchanges need to register with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

The Reserve Bank of Australia is not planning on releasing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to retail consumers. The federal policy framework around cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is currently under review in the country by the recently appointed Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre. The outcome of this review should be available in the final quarter of 2021.

Key figures

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Cryptocurrency in Australia

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Cryptocurrency in Australia - statistics & facts

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that has become a lucrative investment market in recent years. The value of some of these virtual currencies, of which there are thousands globally, can be in the tens of thousands of U.S. dollars. A form of digital payment, it uses an online ledger with cryptography to secure online transactions. The technology used is called blockchain, a decentralized system that manages and records transactions across many computers, recording the transaction in a ledger that all users have access to. While this doesn’t make it immune to hacking, it is this characteristic that makes blockchain technology more secure than other digital payment methods.

Cryptocurrency can be used to purchase goods, services, or traded on cryptocurrency exchanges. The latter of these uses is responsible for most of the interest in cryptocurrency, with investors looking to make large profits by trading. Globally, the biggest cryptocurrencies based on market cap include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.

The Australian cryptocurrency consumer

In Australia, almost 1 in 5 people own some type of cryptocurrency. The market has developed rapidly, reflected in increasing trading volumes on exchanges as well as a significant spike in the daily active users of cryptocurrency wallet apps. The share of men who own cryptocurrency is more than double the share of women, and ownership is more common among millennials than other age groups. The type of bitcoin owned is comparable with global trends, with Bitcoin accounting for the largest share. Despite an uptake in cryptocurrency trading, the number of businesses in Australia that either have a cryptocurrency ATM or offer crypto as an in-store payment method is still relatively low across all industries.

Cryptocurrency regulation and challenges in Australia

While cryptocurrency trading is legal in the country, it is not regulated by the Australian government, and cryptocurrency itself is not yet legal tender. The lack of regulation as well as market volatility are seen as a few of many challenges in investing in cryptocurrency in Australia. While unregulated, there is some policy in place around the crypto market. Cryptocurrency is considered property under the law in Australia, which means it is subject to capital gains tax for consumers and treated as trading stock for businesses. Cryptocurrencies have also been included in the country’s anti-money laundering framework, meaning exchanges need to register with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

The Reserve Bank of Australia is not planning on releasing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to retail consumers. The federal policy framework around cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is currently under review in the country by the recently appointed Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre. The outcome of this review should be available in the final quarter of 2021.

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