Bitcoin has gained massive popularity in past few years and with popularity comes scandals. Scams, exchange hacks and illegal activities are the side effects of this popularity and this is making governments around the world worried about it. Traditional capital markets have a lot of oversight built into them. The exchanges themselves do a lot of watching so that they can see any anomalies, any kind of manipulations and even with all that oversight, people try to game the regular markets.
It’s even worse in the cryptocurrency markets. There is no transparency, no insight into who is doing what and for what reason. The price can be seen transparently, the transactions as well but who is making these transactions is something that is unknown and regulators around the world are very concerned about that because of the money laundering and terror financing.
Most global trading of bitcoin was used to happen in China but the government didn’t like that because people could use the local currency to buy bitcoin and move that money out of the country without the government knowing. To curb this, the Chinese government had taken extreme measures and shutdown the bitcoin exchanges in late 2017 but crypto mining and trading activities still continue. Even the central bank of China is looking into developing their own state owned digital currency and a framework for crypto markets.
Japan had been very friendly with regards to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Japan has always welcomed bitcoin and it even became part of their culture as it combines the two passions Japanese follow with great interest, technology and currency trading. With China banning cryptocurrencies and Japan embracing them, the majority of crypto trading is reported to be happening in Japan. Japan has also accepted bitcoin as a payment method and enacted new rules to monitor potential criminal activities on bitcoin exchanges.
In United States, the regulatory environment is very complicated. The U.S officials had approved bitcoin futures contracts in December of 2017 but Wall Street’s top regulator, the SEC has issued a number of warnings against bitcoin. Since the approval of bitcoin futures, a number of ETF (exchange traded fund) proposals by several bitcoin exchanges have submitted but nothing none has been approved yet.
As far as legal status goes, bitcoin is perfectly legal in Australia. However, the rules and regulations on it are quite thin and there is no real established boundaries around cryptocurrencies in the country. The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act 2017 of Australia bring cryptocurrencies under the regulatory oversight of the country.
Australia is a country which is more open and accepting of new innovations. Australia’s Brisbane airport has been one of the first airports to accept a range of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dash, Litecoin and many more.
Queensland is Australia’s second largest and third-most populous state with a total population of almost 5 million. It is also known as Sunshine State. Tourism is Queensland’s leading tertiary industry with millions of interstate and overseas visitors gathering to the Sunshine State each year. The tourism industry generates $4.0 billion annually, accounting for 4.5% of Queensland’s GSP. Queensland is a state of many landscapes which range from sunny tropical coastal areas, lush rain forests to dry inland areas and temperate highland ranges. The state government of Queensland has announced a grant to a cryptocurrency startup business to attract more tourists.
Last year, State Government had revealed details of an AUD $8.3 million grant given to 70 domestic companies looking to innovate in the region. Pointedly, the announcement pinned Queensland-based crypto payments startup TravelbyBit as the headlining act in describing it as “a startup company set to drive more tourists to Central Queensland by selling travel experiences online using cryptocurrency.” Talking to BlockPublisher, TravelbyBit’s CEO had said, “With this next phase of technology, we are targeting a different brand of tourist – the tech-savvy traveler from anywhere in the world who are looking to book their travel experiences ahead of their trip and use digital currency to pay for their travels.”
Earlier this year, around 1,300 stores across Australia started offering purchase of bitcoins with cash. This was made possible as Binance took over the job and brought the project to reality. The platform allows Australians to buy into the crypto market from the massive number of stores that spread across Australia.
Adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is gaining momentum with every passing day and regulators around the world understand that this revolution cannot be stopped. With all the scams and fraudulent activities around crypto, the governments have to protect people’s interest by regulating this industry.