At the Table: Digital Assets Roundtable with Senator Bragg

Zepto was invited to join Senator Andrew Bragg's Digital Assets roundtable discussion at the Senator's office in Sydney. We were delighted to be represented by Public Policy Lead, Gabe Perrottet, who brought our contributions to the lively discussion.

The last 12-months at Zepto have been transformational. The company has gone from a regional NSW start-up, to a member of the Tech Council of Australia (TCA), and a respected international fintech with a voice sought out by industry bodies, professional associations, government, policy shapers and regulators.

Over just a few months in 2022, we've seen Zepto’s Head of Government & Public Affairs, Emily Curlewis, attend post-budget talks in Canberra; we've participated in the Tech Council of Australia’s Parliamentary Innovation Showcase at Parliament House; CEO Chris Jewell presented to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and the Payments Systems Board in Sydney; and Gabe Perrottet has taken Zepto's voice to Senator Bragg's Digital Assets roundtable in Sydney.

"We are often invited to debate and discuss regulation and reform that will not only influence our business strategy but also have a significant impact on the Australian economy and the future of payments. We could have hardly imagined having this kind of profile and impact even just six months ago. It's incredible," said Chris Jewell. 

Gabe was joined at the roundtable by representatives from the TCA, Finder, Block and Swyftx.

The roundtable presented members of the Tech Council of Australia with an opportunity to provide feedback and firm-up a tech sector view on the Senator's exposure draft private member's bill on digital assets regulation and what an appropriate regulatory framework for digital assets could look like.

The draft bill proposes the introduction of a new licensing system for:

  • Digital Asset Exchanges
  • Digital Asset Custody services, and
  • Stablecoin Issuers (this includes requirements for Australian or foreign currency to be held in reserve in an Australian bank and for frequent reporting)

During the discussion, Gabe highlighted a number of pertinent issues.

"Sound AML/CTF and KYC requirements are critical for the regulation of digital assets and to bring legitimacy to and build consumer confidence in using digital assets to transfer value through the economy. Further, the new licensing regime proposed in the current bill should be dispensed with and the licensing regime for digital assets should be brought within the existing AFSL regime with digital assets defined as a new category or categories of financial product"

Gabe Perrottet, Zepto Public Policy Lead

Gabe noted that it's vital to develop a definition of digital assets which is both precise enough to provide clarity for industry participants and adequately protect consumers, and flexible enough to accommodate new types of digital assets not yet created. Additionally, Gabe noted that the Australian Government should leverage the work already undertaken in the development of Europe's MiCA model as well as the token mapping exercises undertaken in Singapore and the United Kingdom, rather than embark on its own token mapping exercise which will only delay meaningful reform in Australia which the industry so desperately needs.

Senator Bragg noted that he would be accepting submissions and consulting on his draft bill until the end of October, and intends to introduce the bill to the Senate this year.

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