MasterCard Wants Tougher Australian Regime for Cryptocurrencies

MasterCard is lobbying for transactions in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Australia to go through “regulated and transparent administrators” in the same way as other participants in the country’s payments system.

In its submission to a Senate inquiry into cryptocurrencies, the card giant states the case for a “level playing field” with technology neutral regulations that can apply to the likes of bitcoin and Ripple.

According to MasterCard, cryptocurrencies do not yet provide users with the minimum standards that should apply to payment services of safety, stability and reliability.

The group wants regulation that would mean all transactions go through regulated and transparent administrators subject to supervision by Australian authorities, rather than just the blockchain process.

In addition, there should be licensing and prudential supervision of all administrators comparable to non-bank money transmitters, with obligations to perform know your customer (KYC), maintain anti-money laundering (AML) programmes and file suspicious activity reports. Meanwhile, a consumer complaint process should be put in place.

MasterCard’s submission concludes: “These provisions should support Australia in developing an effective regulatory scheme that also protects society against criminal activities and also provides consumers in Australia with safety, stability and reliability when transacting with digital currencies.”

MasterCard made one of 31 submissions to the Economics References Committee’s inquiry which has now begun hearings and plans to report next spring.

The country’s largest bitcoin company, CoinJar, has just outlined plans to move its headquarters to the UK to benefit from a more favourable regulatory regime and avoid the 10% goods and services tax levied on customers using its service in Australia.

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