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Australia to Regulate Crypto and the AFL Launches NFTs

Some exciting movements happened within the Australian cryptocurrency space this week. First and foremost, Australia’s recently elected Labor government plan to further regulate cryptocurrency in a move that will hopefully instil further consumer confidence in the asset class. This coupled with one of Australia’s largest sporting brands, the AFL, launching their own NFTs makes this an exciting time to be involved with blockchain tech in the country.

Heavyweights Aphabet (Google’s parent company) and Samsung were recently reported as two of the most active investors in blockchain-related companies, and in further good news, the ASX has moved one step closer towards tokenised asset trading.

Australian Government announces plans to regulate crypto

In huge news for the Australian cryptocurrency community, The Labor Government has unveiled a multi-step plan to establish a crypto regulatory framework it says has not been seen “anywhere in the world.” 

The newly elected Labor government has instigated a review of cryptocurrency assets to identify how they should be regulated and provide greater protections for consumers. Treasurer Jim Chalmers and other Ministers released a joint statement stating that regulation was struggling to keep up with the crypto sector and that more work had to be done to address this. As part of a reform agenda, the Treasury has resolved to prioritise what is referred to as ‘token mapping’; identifying the unique characteristics of all digital asset tokens in the country, including the specific type of crypto asset, the integral code, and other features. This exercise will be followed by addressing the identified gaps in regulation.

We are all aware that the cryptocurrency sector can be particularly difficult to regulate given its decentralised nature. Further regulation will aim to close the gap on consumer protection and associated risks.

The Treasurer insisted that the government would consult with the crypto sector regarding the pending regulations, as well as what those laws may look like, and how they may be implemented. He noted that the government’s approach to crypto regulation would be prudent and holistic.

Such regulations are certain to have an effect on the crypto market in Australia, potentially causing some minor disruptions, but ultimately reinforcing consumer confidence. As with any innovation, legislation always takes some time to catch up. For more information on the government’s plans, You can view the full statement here.

AFL NFT drop sells out in 12 hours  

The AFL’s first NFT drop was a big success, selling out in under 12 hours, and setting the stage for similar successes down the line.

The AFLs first limited-edition NFT drop has sold out in under 12 hours. As the 2022 finals loom heading into September, the Ripper Skipper 2022 NFTs performed extremely well, raising over $130,000 in USDC (approx. $187,000 AUD). The NFTs featured 78 highlights from the 2021 season.

NFTs are digital certificates on the blockchain, providing proof of ownership of an asset, often artwork. However, AFL Mint plans to take this further, offering game day events, tickets, and other features in future.

These NFTs are open to be purchased by members of the public who have signed up and will sell for $49 in packs of three cards. The cards themselves will be sorted into three categories as per their rarity. 90% will be ‘common’, 8% will be ‘deluxe’, and 2% will be ‘ovation’.

The AFL isn’t the only sporting code to engage in NFTs and the metaverse, with Cricket Australia signing a licensing agreement in April with collectibles platform Rario and the Australian Open offered unique NFTs in partnership with metaverse platform, Decentraland, for their 2022 tournament.

ASX inches closer to tokenised asset trading 

The Australian Securities Exchange has taken steps towards tokenised asset trading, allowing companies on the ASX to trade tokenised bonds, equities, funds, or carbon credits. This comes in the wake of a successful proof-of-concept trial by Zerocap. 

Zerocap, a digital asset investment platform based in Melbourne, has successfully carried out a trial programme, allowing for the trading and clearing of Ethereum-based tokenised assets. The trial is part of ASX’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) based project Synfini, a platform offering clients access to DLT infrastructure, as well as other services.  

Synfini was launched in November, separate from the blockchain-based CHESS (Clearing House Electronic Subregister System) replacement, which has been at the root of a host of problems since its inception. The Synfini platform allows users to access DLT infrastructure and other services, and allows users to build blockchain applications. 

According to co-founder and CEO of Zerocap, Ryan McCall, they have been granted approval to launch Synfini tokenisation and trading services. He anticipates a high degree of interest from companies and organisations wishing to explore tokenisation, as well as trade bonds, carbon credits, and other funds.  

Throughout a fraught period, during which the ASX’s immersion with blockchain was delayed five times, the success of this trial is a cause for celebration.

Alphabet and Samsung among most active investors in blockchain

Tech giants, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Samsung have been revealed as two of the most active investors of blockchain-related companies.  

Both Samsung and Alphabet have been identified by Blockdata, a crypto intelligence platform, as having made some huge investments in companies working on blockchain technology. Other investors include Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, in a manoeuvre that could instil confidence to crypto investors.

Blockdata collated the information, indicating that Alphabet invested a total of US$1.5 billion across four blockchain companies, while overall 40 companies invested roughly six billion USD in investments of blockchain-related companies. South Korean company Samsung was identified as having participated in thirteen rounds of funding between September 2021 and June 2022.

The interest in blockchain technology has rattled some and encouraged others. Some stakeholders worry that the biggest tech companies are seeking to monopolise what were intended to be open-source, decentralised systems and platforms. On the other hand, it could simply be that large companies have recognised the value of blockchain and its potential. Find out more in this week’s Crypto Catchup podcast episode.

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