Rushing ‘token mapping’ could hurt Aussie crypto space — Finder founder

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Aus­tralian cryp­to entre­pre­neur and investor Fred Schebesta has described the Aus­tralian gov­ern­men­t’s pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of token map­ping as “won­der­ful,” but warns that rush­ing it could lead to detri­men­tal effects on the economy.

Schebesta’s com­ments come after Aus­tralian Trea­sur­er Jim Chalmers released a state­ment on Aug. 22 stat­ing that the “trea­sury will pri­or­i­tize token map­ping work” in 2022 to show how “cryp­to assets and relat­ed ser­vices should be regulated.”

Speak­ing to Coin­tele­graph, Schebesta believes Aus­tralia already has a “fledg­ling” cryp­to indus­try but needs to “align with the oth­er major mar­kets and their regulations.”

Schebesta added that the “intri­ca­cies” of token map­ping are not clear, and “things are chang­ing as well.”

Schebesta is an Aus­tralian entre­pre­neur and investor — best known as the co-founder of Find­er, an Aus­tralian com­par­i­son web­site. Schebesta is also a co-founder of cryp­to invest­ment fund Hive Empire Cap­i­tal and an advi­sor for Balt­haz­ar, an NFT gam­ing platform.

He explained that if “we rush” — the token map­ping exer­cise could turn away cryp­to com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­lar­ly if there’s a “very dif­fer­ent approach” to oth­er countries.

Schebesta stressed that it’s not the time to “rush it out,” but take the time “to just take it easy and real­ly, real­ly do some deep­er analysis.”

The token-map­ping announce­ment from Aus­trali­a’s new Labor gov­ern­ment came three months after it came into pow­er, break­ing a long silence on how it would approach cryp­to reg­u­la­tion in the country.

At the time, Trea­sur­er Chalmers said the gov­ern­ment want­ed to reign in on the “large­ly unreg­u­lat­ed” cryp­to sector.

“As it stands, the cryp­to sec­tor is large­ly unreg­u­lat­ed, and we need to do some work to get the bal­ance right so we can embrace new and inno­v­a­tive tech­nolo­gies,” he said. 

Relat­ed: Australia’s new gov­ern­ment final­ly sig­nals its cryp­to reg­u­la­tion stance

While many in the indus­try laud­ed the announce­ment as an “impor­tant step” for the indus­try, some were dis­ap­point­ed that there the coun­try was not “fur­ther along” the path to reg­u­la­to­ry certainty. 

Aus­tralian lawyer Liam Hen­nessy, part­ner at Gadens told Coin­tele­graph that Aus­tralia has been at the “fore­front of the cryp­to devel­op­ments,” but wor­ries that the coun­try is “slow­ly falling behind the U.K. and U.S.” due to fail­ure to cre­ate rules for those “in the cryp­to indus­try, in par­tic­u­lar those in finan­cial services.”

Hen­nessy believes that while token map­ping is vital, it should­n’t be the pri­ma­ry focus for regulators. 

“It should be sec­ondary to actu­al­ly cre­at­ing some tax rules and reg­u­la­tions around licens­ing that we can give to our busi­ness­es that real­ly need to hear it so they can com­pete with our glob­al competitors.”

He fears that Aus­tralia is falling into the trap of “think­ing that a lit­tle bit of atten­tion from the gov­ern­ment will solve the prob­lems,” which he believes that the token map­ping exer­cise “to some extent, is being viewed as.”

Schebesta said he spoke at a sen­ate hear­ing in 2021 where he high­light­ed “Aus­tralia would have a huge influx of new busi­ness­es […] because it’s a safe, sta­ble, and great reg­u­la­to­ry place to build their busi­ness,” adding that “tens of thou­sands” of jobs would be cre­at­ed “in the next two to three years.”

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