Executives from Coinbase recently held private meetings with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Treasury to discuss the future of cryptocurrency regulation in the country. According to a spokesperson from the RBA, the meetings were part of the bank's ongoing liaison with industry and were held with the Payments Policy and Financial Stability departments.
Tom Duff Gordon, the vice president of international policy at Coinbase, confirmed that meetings also took place with Treasury in Canberra and Sydney. Discussions reportedly touched on the government's token mapping exercise, as well as Coinbase sharing insights on global best practices concerning licensing and custody.
The Australian Treasury's token mapping exercise was announced in August 2022, with the aim of categorizing digital assets in a way that could work them into existing regulatory frameworks. A consultation paper was released in February 2023, and feedback from the crypto industry was sought.
Gordon praised the Treasury's efforts, noting that the token mapping exercise provided one of the most detailed and thoughtful papers they had encountered on the topic and that he appreciated the Treasury's comprehensive groundwork. He expressed his desire to see the regulations for crypto exchanges and custodians later this year.
Coinbase expanded to Australia in October 2022 and has reportedly been impressed with the open door that they have received from policymakers in Canberra. However, documents obtained by the Australian Financial Review under freedom of information laws suggested that crypto legislation in the country could be delayed beyond 2024.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has been critical of the approach to crypto regulation in the United States, claiming that the Securities and Exchange Commission is "regulating by enforcement" and that there is no way for firms to register with the SEC. Meanwhile, the Australian government appears to be taking a more collaborative approach with industry players such as Coinbase.