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Australia Wants To Limit Cash Payments Not Cryptocurrency

Draft legislation from Australia’s Department of Treasury has proposed limits on cash payments exceeding $10,000. Interestingly, cryptocurrency is not negatively mentioned in the document.


Australia Moves to Limit the Size of Cash Payments

Australia’s Department of Treasury recently published a new set of preliminary guidelines that govern the size of cash-based currency payments. The draft legislation proposes that a “payment limit of $10,000 for payments made or accepted by businesses for goods and services”.

The draft further stipulates that “transactions equal to, or in excess of this amount would need to be made using the electronic payment system or by cheque.” 

In 2018 the Treasury Department’s  Black Economy Taskforce proposed that implementing limits on currency transfers would significantly assist with combating tax evasion and other criminal activities. 

Cryptocurrency Makes the Exceptions List

The proposal also provides a detailed list of situations under which payments are not subject to the cash payment limit:

  • payments related to personal or private transactions (other than transactions involving real property);
  • payments that must be reported by an entity under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation, provided, broadly, the entity with a reporting obligation complies (or is reasonably believed to have complied) with their obligations under that legislation;
  • payments made or accepted by a public official in which the public official is legally required to make or accept cash payment in the course of their duties;
  • payments that exceed the cash payment limit because the payment is part of a transaction involving collecting, holding or delivering cash and this is undertaken in the course of an enterprise of collecting or delivering cash
    (i.e., providing cash-in-transit services);
  • payments that only exceed the cash payment limit because payment is or includes an amount of digital currency; and
  • payments that occur in situations where no alternative method of payment could reasonably be used.

Interestingly, one will note that cryptocurrency is not listed as a form of payment in need of additional oversight or restrictions. Typically, cryptocurrency is synonymously looped into discussions and legislation focused on illicit activity, money laundering, and terrorist funding.

In this case, cryptocurrency as a payment option falls under the second exception setting “payments that must be reported by an entity under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation.” As is common knowledge, the majority of major cryptocurrency exchanges have complied with the government’s requirement that exchanges implement adequate know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) processes. 

Australia Believes Crypto Needs Room to Grow

Section 9 of the draft legislation provides greater clarity on digital payments, along with the specifics of their exemption from the cash payment limit. According to a document released by the Department of Treasury: 

Digital currency is a new and developing area in the Australian economy. Unlike physical currency, it does not have a firmly established regulatory framework or industry structure. This makes it difficult to apply the cash payment limit in a way that would not largely prevent the use of digital currency in Australia or significantly stifle innovation in the sector.

At the same time, there is little current evidence that digital currency is presently being used in Australia to facilitate black economy activities. Given this, the Government has decided at the present time to effectively carve digital currency out from the cash payment limit.

This position will remain under ongoing scrutiny to ensure that the exemption for digital currency payments remains appropriate in light of the current use of digital currency in the Australian economy.

The Department of Treasury website clarified that the draft was “released for public consultation” and the government is planning to implement the cash payment limit starting on 1 January 2020. The public is encouraged to submit opinions to the consultation and all inquiries must be submitted by August 12, 2019. 

Do you think limits on the size of cryptocurrency payments should fall under the command of Australia’s Department of Treasury? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Image via Shutterstock

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Led 20

Australian Bitcoin ATM Startup Says Its Raking in $360,000 Per Week

A Bitcoin ATM company from Australia has reported a weekly turnover of $500,000 AUD (roughly $360,000 USD) despite the cryptocurrency bear market. 


$360,000 Weekly Turnaround

Auscoin, an Australian bitcoin ATM company, has reported a weekly turnaround of $360,000 in 2018. According to the reports, it’s currently operating 31 ATMs throughout Australia but it’s planning to expand.

Speaking on the matter, Sam Karagiozis, founder at Auscoin, said:

We currently have 31 Auscoin ATMs in Australia… and our turnover is $500,000 a week, which is just insane considering how much the price of Bitcoin has dropped. […] It just shows there really is a market for it and cryptocurrency is seen as a way of the future for many.

bitcoin atm

Auscoin bitcoin ATM

The company had an underwhelming ICO in 2018 after it managed to raise only $2 million of the projected $30 million. However, it hopes to expand to a network of more than 1200 bitcoin ATMs across Australia.

It’s Getting Easier to Buy Bitcoin

It’s becoming increasingly easier for people to buy Bitcoin at a range of physical locations. According to Karagiozis, accessibility is the main barrier to entry for regular people:

We believe the most significant barrier to entry for everyday people in the cryptocurrency market is accessibility.

Bitcoinist reported that the number of Bitcoin ATMs has doubled in 2018, growing to more than 4,000 in 76 different countries. According to the tracking website Coinatmradar, Australia has 54 Bitcoin ATMs in operation.

At the beginning of the month, France started selling Bitcoin at tobacco shops. The plan is to expand buying bitcoin to 24,000 tobacco kiosks across the country in the near future.

Just a couple of days ago, US-based Bitcoin ATM company Coinme partnered up with international coin counter Coinstar. The initiative has enabled users to buy Bitcoin at 20,000 Coinstar kiosk locations.

Meanwhile, Venezuela is also expected to see its first bitcoin vending machine go live within the next two weeks.

What do you think of the growing popularity of Bitcoin ATMs? Will this have a positive impact on its widespread adoption? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Říj 25

Australia Post Delivers ‘Buy Bitcoin’ Service to Its 11.7 Million Customers

One of Australia’s oldest institutions, Australia Post, has announced that customers will now be able to buy bitcoin on participating exchanges within minutes through its Digital iD service.


Australia Post Delivers Bitcoin

Now Australians will be able to buy bitcoin through their post office. Australia Post lets users sign up to local Bitcoin exchanges through its Digital iD service, which eliminates the need to take selfies and verify documents.

Think ‘Log in with Facebook or LinkedIn’ button, but for buying BTC 00.

Brisbane-based Bitcoin exchange, Digital Surge, for example, is among the first adopters of the Digital iD platform, local news outlet Micky reports.

Director of Digital Surge, Josh Lehman, says the new service helps speed up the registration process that could discourage many potential users.

“Digital iD allows us to verify the identity of a prospective Bitcoin buyer in minutes,
instead of the days it takes other exchanges,” Mr Lehman explained.

For the first time, an Australian can log on to a computer, punch in their driver’s licence or
passport details, and be buying Bitcoin within minutes.

Digital iD also works with Australian companies Coinjar and Coin Loft, and could boost confidence for potential investors, who were previously reluctant to submit personal data to questionable online services.

Digital Identity Service Struggles

Australia Post has struggled with its Digital iD program, however, with budget hand staff cuts amid controversy and a potential conflict of interest with another government digital ID program, according to local news portal Innovationaus. In addition, an attempt to gauge the possibility of private sector funding has also been “halted.” 

The Digital iD project was rolled out earlier this year after development began in 2016 with 13 participating organizations, a number which has now grown to over 40, including Queensland Police, CUA, and Airtasker.

The process is simple. Customers submit their national ID such as a driver license or passport once, and then only use a smartphone app and QR codes instead. But ultimately, Australia Post’s Digital iD service does store all of this personal information and (purportedly) lets users share only the bits of data that are required for verification on participating platforms. 

“Digital iD gives people more control over the personal data they share with organizations,” General Manager of Australia Post’s Digital iD, Cameron Gough, says. 

Australia Could be an ICO Hub

A Privacy for Usability Tradeoff

Using this new way to buy bitcoin in Australia may indeed become the easiest method currently available. At the same time, there is a tradeoff for people who value privacy.

In June, Bitcoinist reported that the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) announced it will collect Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on cryptocurrency gains. In other words, users should expect to pay capital gains tax since their newly-purchased bitcoin can be easily traced to their digital ID.

Nevertheless, this has not stopped Australians from buying bitcoin as the number of cryptocurrency holders has nearly tripled since the beginning of 2018. Therefore, Australia Post, which services 11.7 million addresses across the country based on the latest data, could attract some new buyers of bitcoin who prefer to trust a government corporation over some off-shore exchange.

Would you use Australia Post to buy bitcoin? Let us know below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Říj 09

University of Melbourne Piloting Recipient-Owned Blockchain Records

· October 9, 2017 · 4:00 pm

The University of Melbourne has announced plans to pilot blockchain based certification and verification based scheme, allowing a private, secure and long-lasting way to verify their student’s credentials.


Bitcoin Degrees

The University of Melbourne is trialing a blockchain-based record keeping program, allowing recipients to both store their credentials and allow third party access for verification purposes. Learning Machine are behind the issuing system using the Blockcerts open source code developed by the MIT Media Lab in 2016.

Professor Gregor Kennedy, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, explained:

While we are entirely committed to the existing degrees and awards that the University offers, we are also interested in exploring how we can build a more diverse credentialing ecosystem. Issuing credentials on the blockchain is a key component of this investigation.

Blockcerts Open Source Code and Wallet

The Blockcerts code is freely available to the public under the MIT open source license. One of the key benefits of the blockchain is that a recipient owns their credentials and that they will be available to be verified by third parties even if the issuer, in this case, the University of Melbourne, ceases to exist.

Students can access and share their credentials via an open source mobile phone wallet app, enabling them to easily show potential employers that they have the qualifications that they say they have. The benefits of verifying information in this manner include cost savings for the issuing university, security and the prevention of potential fraudulent misrepresentation when it comes to declaring actual qualifications.

Learning Machines CEO Chris Jagers stated:

The blockchain is an innovation that gives institutions brand protection while also giving individuals the benefit of owning their official records and taking them anywhere. Both issuers and recipients immediately gain a level of independence and security that wasn’t possible before.

Learning Machine

Learning Machine is a US based company with headquarters in Cambridge, MA. The company is quick to point out that this undertaking by the University of Melbourne is a first in the Asia-Pacific region, and Learning Machines is keen to spread blockchain-based solutions across a broad range of sectors.

Natalie Smolenski, Head of Business Development at Learning Machines, told Newswire:

Institutions all over the world–universities, governments, corporations, and others–are coming to terms with the logistical challenges of an increasingly mobile, global workforce and student body. The blockchain upgrades legacy methods of credentialing and verification, increasing both the security and efficiency of records processing. The Learning Machine platform makes creating, issuing, and managing blockchain records simple and intuitive at scale.

Do you think record keeping and credentials verification on the blockchain are more secure than current traditional methods? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of the Bitcoinist archives

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