Cryptocurrencies – love them or fear them, there’s no ignoring them

Are you ready for a surprising fact? One in four Australians hold, or have held, one or more cryptocurrencies.

So says the just released Senate Select Committee report on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, adding that this makes Australia one of the world’s biggest adopters of cryptocurrencies on a per capita basis.

Whether we should be impressed or concerned by this time will tell. What I can state with confidence – and the backing of the Senate report – is that Australia sorely needs a strong legislative framework around cryptocurrencies in order to both protect people from financial risk and also allow people the freedom to trade in legitimate forms of currency (even if they are not fully understood by all).

The term “cryptocurrency” is actually something of a misnomer. “Currency” in its generally understood usage is legal tender recognised by national laws and regarded as an official unit of money. Those $20 notes and 50 cent coins in your wallet meet that definition, but “crypto” currencies do not. They are forms of tender recognised by some, but not all, individuals and organisations, and not recognised by government agencies in most countries.

This is easily tested by trying to pay your taxes or rates bill with a cryptocurrency.

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