The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported that crypto payments now overtake traditional bank payments in frequency, per ZDNet.
“In relation to scamwatch [an ACCC-run scam-tracker], we see a number of scams relating to investment schemes, and we are now seeing that the payments in relation to those are now more often by way of cryptocurrency than by way of bank transfer,” ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb today.
Investment scams, not just those involving crypto, have also seen a significant uptick in the country. From the start of the year to March 20, losses incurred by investment scams had reportedly increased by 90% among Australians.
“It’s also the fact that it’s an unregulated product, so there are no controls. There are no institutions that can be roped in to assist. So really, it’s the fact that it’s the wild west,” ACCC executive general manager for consumer and fair trading Rami Greiss reportedly added.
Australia’s relationship with crypto has been markedly less punitive than other jurisdictions like the UK.
Australia and crypto regulation
In May 2021, Australia’s Financial Services Minister Jane Hume opined about cryptocurrencies and personal freedom.
“If you want to invest in Dogecoin, I won’t stand in your way. Personal opportunity and personal responsibility are two sides of the same coin,” she said at the time.
She added that cryptocurrencies were “not a fad” and are “an asset class that will grow in importance.”
In November of the same year, she doubled down.
“Don’t be the person who thought the iPhone would never take off because people would prefer to have their music and telephone on separate devices. Don’t be the person in 1995 who said the internet was just a place for geeks and criminals and would never become mainstream,” she said.
This year, Hume also reportedly introduced a “crypto badge of approval” to allow Australians to invest in the industry safely.
“Crypto values will go up and down sure as eggs, and the government will not be protecting consumers from market volatility—and nor should they,” she said.
“But Australian investors will be sure that if they use a licensed Australian exchange, they can trust the exchange will deliver on its commitments to customers and have appropriate protections.”