Australian Senators Launch Joint Blockchain Group

Blockchain's clout is growing in Australia, now boosted by bipartisan support.

Bitcoin has found at least two more allies in Australia with a pair of senators forming a bipartisan advocacy group called the ‘Parliamentary Friends of Blockchain’. The stance comes during a period of gradual acceptance of cryptocurrencies from the broader financial services industry and global regulators, namely in Australia. The industry is aiming for more cohesive discussion on the decentralized technology and its regulation.

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The timing of such a pro-Bitcoin initiative is hardly surprising, given the hosting of a recent blockchain event at the Australian Parliament earlier this month. The event itself was attended by over 100 blockchain experts in the industry, co-convened by Australian senators Sam Dastyari (Labor) and Jane Hume (Liberal).

The group also saw the establishment of the ‘Parliamentary Friendship Group’, which focuses on blockchain technology. The two senators have already made waves in the country, having previously called on the Reserve Bank of Australia to recognize Bitcoin as a legal currency domestically.

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Indeed, Bitcoin’s ascendancy has been marked over the past few months. Having risen above $4000 en route to all-time highs, the cryptocurrency has been widely supported at multiple retail brokerages as client demand has swelled. The senators’ stance on digital currencies is so profound that they have pressed the Australian government to pioneer their own digital currency over a blockchain.

Thus far, the reception for the new bipartisan blockchain group has been good. The mandate for the Parliamentary Friends of Blockchain also could signal a new era of cooperation and startups in Australia .

The initiative was also welcomed and endorsed by the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), which supported more multi-lateral dialogue between policymakers and industry leaders. Just last week, Australian Bitcoin exchanges faced new regulation under the country’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC.

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