Australian crypto entrepreneur and investor Fred Schebesta has described the Australian government’s priority of token mapping as “great”, but warns that rushing it could lead to adverse effects on the economy.
Schebesta’s comments come after Australian treasurer Jim Chalmers released a statement on Aug. 22 saying that the “treasury will prioritize token mapping work in 2022” to show how “crypto assets and related services should be regulated.” “.
Speaking to TBEN, Schebesta believes Australia already has a “young” crypto industry, but it needs to “align with the other major markets and their regulations.”
Schebesta added that the “fines” of token mapping are not clear, and “things are also changing.”
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 to Balthazar, an NFT gaming platform.
He explained that if “we rush” – the token mapping exercise could turn down crypto firms, especially if there is a “very different approach” for other countries.
Schebesta stressed that it is not the time to “talk about it,” but to take the time “to take it easy and do a really, really deeper analysis.”
Australia’s new Labor government’s token-mapping announcement came three months after it came to power, breaking a lengthy silence on how it would approach crypto regulation in the country.
At the time, Treasurer Chalmers said the government wanted to control 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 shows its stance on crypto regulation
While many in the industry hailed the announcement as an “important step” for the industry, some were disappointed that the country was not there “further” on the path to legal certainty.
Australian lawyer Liam Hennessy, partner at Gadens, told TBEN that Australia has been at the “vanguard of crypto developments” but is concerned that the country is “slowly falling behind the UK and US” for failing to create rules for those “in the crypto industry, especially those in the financial services.”
Hennessy believes that while token mapping is vital, it should not 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 companies that really need to hear it so they can compete with our global competitors.”
He fears Australia is falling into the trap of “thinking a little government attention will solve the problems”, which he believes the token mapping exercise is “to some extent seen as”.
Schebesta said he spoke at a 2021 Senate hearing where he emphasized: “Australia would have a huge influx of new companies. […] because it is a safe, stable and well-regulated place to build their business”, adding that “tens of thousands” of jobs would be created “in the next two to three years”.