Cryptos: tread cautiously, but not fearfully

  • By Zilla Efrat

Cryptocurrencies are not a fad, Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy, Senator Jane Hume, said on Monday.

“We should tread cautiously, but not fearfully,” she told the Australian Financial Review Super & Wealth Summit, noting that decentralised finance or DeFi was an emerging and rapidly evolving area of financial technology that presented huge opportunities.

A recent Senate Committee report found that 17 per cent of Australians are investing in cryptocurrency, said Hume.

“This is an asset class that has captured hearts and minds, but beyond that – whatever you might personally think – it’s a technology that’s not going away any time soon,” she said.

“With that in mind, I commend the industry for embracing innovation and developments in this space, particularly around blockchain.

“Just recently we’ve seen Commonwealth Bank move to allow its customers to hold and use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies via its 6.5 million‑user banking app. This will make CBA the first Australian bank – and one of just a handful of banks worldwide – to offer customers this sort of access.

“So as an industry, and as a Government, we need to acknowledge this is not a fad. We should tread cautiously, but not fearfully.”

Hume urged the participants at the summit to embrace new technologies.

If the past 20 or 30 years have taught us anything, it was that all innovation begins as disruption and ends as a household name, she said.

“De‑centralised finance underpinned by blockchain technology will present incredible opportunities ‑ Australia mustn’t be left behind by fear of the unknown.”