A presentation on the Australian bitcoin experience to date and what Asian countries can learn from it. Presented at the Bangkok Bitcoin Expo 2014 (22/11/2014)
The Australian Bitcoin Experience
Regulatory Lessons and Opportunities
For Asian Countries
Presented By Alan Tsen
Bangkok Bitcoin Expo
Presented 22 November 2014
What I’ll Be Talking About
Why Bitcoin Matters
The Australian Bitcoin Experience
Opportunities For Asia
• As a currency, it’s creating a way to
move value from anywhere to
anywhere else in the world almost
instantaneously and at virtually no cost.
• As a technology, it’s creating a whole
new class of assets, contracting,
identity verification and automated
value transmission opportunities.
• The opportunities are only really just
Online Merchants Accepting
Sources Coinmetrics, Coinbase and Bitpay
Source: Interview, Dream Force Conference,17/10/2014
Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t
have to be physically in the same place and, of
course, for large transactions, currency can get
Bitcoin is truly radical, Cryptocurrency, more
broadly, is a truly radical, truly revolutionary,
fundamental breakthrough in computer science,
completely different way to do transaction
processing, potentially a replacement for a very
large amount of the status quo…
Source: Interview, SIBOS Conference,15/10/2014
A COUNTRY MORE KNOWN
FOR ITS LIFESTYLE
A LOVE OF
Australia is a country of early adopters
Source: Our Mobile Planet, 2014
A connected country
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, AusStats 2012-2013
Have Access To
… but we pay for it - average
cost for access to basic banking
…Interestingly Australians are
Source: Measuring Financial Exclusion in Australia, June 2013
INTEREST IN BITCOIN
• A number of bitcoin companies have
come online over the last 24 months -
both exchanges and resellers.
• One of the bigger bitcoin resellers
reported that in 12 months to July
2014 they did around $AUD50m in
transactions and had about 30,000
• Melbourne based bitcoin arbitrage fund
- Bitcoins Reserve has reported a total
return of 704.9% since it’s opening in
• The Australian Taxation Office has
released guidance on the income tax
and goods and services tax treatment
• Overall, there is a fair amount of clarity
in relation to how bitcoin is treated at
• Obviously, there is still room for further
clarification and the law could better
reflect the actual use of bitcoin (e.g.
• One of the first bitcoin companies (by
way of backdoor listing) to trade on a
major stock exchange was in Australia.
• The world’s first bitcoin company IPO
will (hopefully) be done in Australia -
The Bitcoin Group.
• The CEO of the Bitcoin Group has
publicly said that having legal clarity
has helped to facilitate the listing.
• Numerous bitcoin companies have
been able to start.
• Although, most in the bitcoin
community would prefer that bitcoin be
unregulated, the reality is that
regulation plays a critical role in drawing
• Legal clarity helps build more
companies in the bitcoin space.
• Allows people to deal with bitcoin more
‘freely’ and builds confidence in it (i.e.
credibility because of regulation).
1 Regulatory clarity is of paramount
Consumer adoption/ interest
and building a community helps.
Banking relationships are hard to
IS STILL UP
• The Asian bitcoin hub is up for grabs
and could prove to be the next BIG
opportunity in the financial sector.
• Many Asian countries are well suited to
being the hub for bitcoin - think
remittance, mining, ‘banking’ for the
• Many countries in Asia are already
finance hubs (e.g. Hong Kong and
Singapore) bitcoin could build on this.
• A relatively clear regulatory framework.
• Investor funds flowing in to fund bitcoin
• Consumer interest - and use of bitcoin
in a transactional way!
• A strong community of bitcoin
companies and enthusiasts.