Autor Cointelegraph By Ciaran Lyons

Lack of ‘qualified people’ without more Web3 education, say academics

Australian blockchain academics and educators have called for more robust Web3 education in schools, preparing students for a world that will be dominated by blockchain technology.Huxley Peckham, head trainer for Blockchain Academy International told Cointelegraph that there are “very few qualified people in the blockchain industry, but there is big demand for qualified people,” noting that worldwide, there are at least 60 different industries using blockchain tech. Both Peckman, and Blockchain Academy International founder Tim Bowman said it was time to rapidly expand blockchain education in schools in order to prepare for a shift in the world economy.Peckham believes blockchain education is important as it will allow “the next generation of strategists and consultants to come out with some real grip in this industry,” noting that knowing how to apply the technology will “really enhance their career.” He suggested blockchain is a lucrative industry to jump into, noting he’s seen various jobs in the industry commanding “$300,000 [Australian dollars] plus incentives.”Chris Berg, Co-Director of RMIT University Blockchain Innovation Hub told Cointelegraph that it is vital students have an idea “on what does the economy look like, how the economy is changing” as it relates to cryptocurrency and blockchain. Berg firmly believes that students “need to leave year 12 with an understanding of the changing nature of the economy, and the technologies that will affect it, one of those is blockchain.”Meanwhile, Leigh Travers, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance Australia told Cointelegraph that it was imperative that Australian students can access the same level of high-quality education in blockchain as those seeking a career in traditional industries.Travers noted that Binance Australia recently introduced a “Binance Internship” — allowing students to learn from the best in “Web3 and crypto” and “hopefully land jobs outside of that.”This is alongside plans for Binance Australia to form a partnership with Australian universities so that a “blockchain master’s degree” can be established to help people “get into the Metaverse or build that out for the future.”Bowman noted that his academy has “met with a school in Brisbane who are going to be offering a Diploma of Applied Blockchain to their year 11 and 12 students in 2023.”Related: Top universities have added crypto to the curriculumBlockchain Academy International is the first blockchain education facility to be approved in Australia for government-issued student loans. This allows Australians to enroll in its blockchain courses without having to pay upfront, instead taking out a loan with the Australian government the same way university loans are provided.Bowman said he believes young Australians are already ahead of the curve in many ways recalling a personal experience he had talking to a primary school principal who asked a sixth-grade class “who here knows what an NFT is?” which was followed by “half the class putting their hands up” before learning that “six students had already bought an NFT.”A newly released survey report from Australian crypto exchange Swyftx estimates Australia to gain one million new cryptocurrency holders over the next 12 months, bringing total crypto ownership in the country to over five million.

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Rushing ‘token mapping’ could hurt Aussie crypto space — Fintech founder

Australian crypto entrepreneur and investor Fred Schebesta has described the Australian government’s prioritization of token mapping as “wonderful,” but warns that rushing it could lead to detrimental effects on the economy.Schebesta’s comments come after Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers released a statement on Aug. 22 stating that the “treasury will prioritize token mapping work” in 2022 to show how “crypto assets and related services should be regulated.”Speaking to Cointelegraph, Schebesta believes Australia already has a “fledgling” crypto industry but needs to “align with the other major markets and their regulations.”Schebesta added that the “intricacies” of token mapping are not clear, and “things are changing as well.”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 for Balthazar, an NFT gaming platform.He explained that if “we rush” — the token mapping exercise could turn away crypto companies, particularly if there’s a “very different approach” to other countries.Schebesta stressed that it’s not the time to “rush it out,” but take the time “to just take it easy and really, really do some deeper analysis.”The token-mapping announcement from Australia’s new Labor government came three months after it came into power, breaking a long silence on how it would approach crypto regulation in the country.At the time, Treasurer Chalmers said the government wanted to reign in on 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 signals its crypto regulation stance While many in the industry lauded the announcement as an “important step” for the industry, some were disappointed that there the country was not “further along” the path to regulatory certainty. Australian lawyer Liam Hennessy, partner at Gadens told Cointelegraph that Australia has been at the “forefront of the crypto developments,” but worries that the country is “slowly falling behind the U.K. and U.S.” due to failure to create rules for those “in the crypto industry, in particular those in financial services.”Hennessy believes that while token mapping is vital, it shouldn’t 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 businesses that really need to hear it so they can compete with our global competitors.”He fears that Australia is falling into the trap of “thinking that a little bit of attention from the government will solve the problems,” which he believes that the token mapping exercise “to some extent, is being viewed as.”Schebesta said he spoke at a senate hearing in 2021 where he highlighted “Australia would have a huge influx of new businesses […] because it’s a safe, stable, and great regulatory place to build their business,” adding that “tens of thousands” of jobs would be created “in the next two to three years.”

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‘Fear of the unknown’ holds back tradfi investors from crypto — Bloomberg analyst

Jamie Coutts, Crypto Market Analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence argues that “falsehoods” and “fear of the unknown” is what has been holding back traditional portfolio managers from investing in cryptocurrency. Speaking to Cointelegraph during the Australian Crypto Convention over the weekend, Coutts argues there has been an ongoing “falsehood” that “there is no intrinsic value in blockchains.”“These asset managers own stocks, like Amazon and Facebook […] which for the first several years these companies had no earnings,” explained Coutts, adding that Facebook in its infant stages “didn’t have profit […] or seen to have any intrinsic value.”“Yet they could understand there is a network value here, that the network is growing, that the value of the asset accrues from how many people are using the products.”Coutts believes that “although not all blockchains are cash generative assets, including Ethereum” there is certainly intrinsic value there. However, the Bloomberg analyst said he couldn’t quite put his finger on why there was a hesitation to embrace cryptocurrency, ruling out lack of regulation as the reason. “Regulation can’t be one of them. Let me just restate that. Regulation is always a concern, but BTC is regulated.” Coutts said “there isn’t really a regulatory risk” as crypto became regulated “the moment” it became a taxable item that you had to “disclose to the tax authorities in whatever jurisdiction you’re in.” Instead, Coutts said it could be “just the fear of the unknown,” adding that asset managers ignoring or choosing not educate themselves on cryptocurrency is a missed opportunity.Coutts suggested that those hesitant to invest in cryptocurrency should look beyond the market volatility and focus on what cryptocurrency actually brings to the table.“The best thing that we can do is understand the global trends that are taking place […] debasement and technological innovation, which crypto is at the intersection of. That provides the wind behind the sails of crypto as an asset class that should be considered for some allocation.”Jamie Coutts speaking at the Australian Crypto Convention on Sept. 17Last month, Swiss wealth management group Picket group advised against crypto investments “amid the recent industry turmoil.” Picket Group CEO, Tee Fong, acknowledged that crypto is “an asset class that we cannot ignore” however doesn’t think there is “a place for private bankers and for private bank portfolios.”Related: Does the Ethereum Merge offer a new destination for institutional investors?Others suggest that institutional investors remain interested in crypto-related investments despite the market conditions. Chief Investment Officer of Apollo Capital, Henrik Anderson, told Cointelegraph on Sept. 14 that although institutional interest has been slow in gaining momentum, there are many waiting on the sidelines, timing the market.Anderson is optimistic about the future given that we’ve already “seen several of the major banks here in Australia taking an interest in digital assets,” with “ANZ and NAB” choosing to focus on “stablecoins and traditional asset tokenization rather than crypto investments specifically.”

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P2E gamers, minors not any safer from the tax man, says Koinly

Modern parents are going to need to keep an even closer eye on their kids’ gaming habits, as some of them may be accumulating a hefty tax bill, according to a crypto tax specialist.Speaking to Cointelegraph during last week’s Australian Crypto Convention, Adam Saville-Brown, regional head of tax software firm Koinly said that many don’t realize that earnings from play-to-earn (P2E) games can be subject to tax consequences in the same way as crypto trading and investing. This is particularly true for play-to-earn blockchain games that offer in-game tokens that can be traded on exchanges and thus have real-world financial value. “Parents were once worried about their kids’ playing games like GTA, with violence […] but parents now need to be aware of a whole new level […] tax complexities.”Saville-Brown said he was approached during the convention by a father of a nine-year-old son, concerned that his boy was “making bank” from P2E games. “The nine-year-old kid…is mining, staking, creating Youtube and TikTok videos to the point that his dad had to bring him here today because he’s generating so much income,” Saville-Brown recounted to Cointelegraph. However, the treatment of P2E game earnings — at least in Australia — can be complex. Koinly’s Head of Tax Danny Talwar explained that in Australia if one is playing a game to earn income — they are considered as “running a business” and could face a “complicated” tax situation, noting: “If you’re a professional gamer, it’s possible that you’re running a business, so you’d be treated under such rules.” This is further complicated as the gamers could either be “playing these games as an investor” or “playing these games as a trader.” According to the Australian Taxation Office, investors are subject to capital gains when they sell their assets, while traders doing the same thing would be seen as “trading stock in a business,” and thus any profits would be treated as ordinary income.Talwar added that if users have “intentions to actually run as a business […] and have a business strategy,” then it will be treated as a business for tax purposes. He brought up the popular P2E game Axie Infinity as an example of a game that might receive business treatment for tax purposes “as people use that game to earn an income.”The tax expert advised that how one “should be treated from a tax perspective, all gets very complicated without guidance.” He added that once you “throw in the other issue of minors under 18” playing games to earn an income and “creating in-game value, that has a marketplace with taxable consequences in doing so that people aren’t necessarily realizing.”Related: Which countries are the worst for crypto taxation? New study lists top fiveA similar situation could play out in the United States. Artav at Law, a U.S. Law Firm, states that complications arise because not “all P2E earnings” are the same. There is a gray area as “what (and how) the game pays the player determines the type of taxes that particular player will owe […] is the income in the form of NFT? Tokens? Staking income? An airdrop?”The U.S. law firm stated that whether it is called a token, cryptocurrency, or virtual currency, a native token is taxed like intangible property and is subject to capital gains tax, which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has had “a consistent position on this since at least 2014.”However, if you earn crypto tokens “as part of a play-to-earn game, the value of such crypto is taxable as ordinary income,” it said. 

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Australian senator drafts bill aimed at stablecoin, digital yuan regulation

Australian Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg has released a new draft bill aimed at clamping down on digital asset exchanges, stablecoins, and China’s central bank digital currency, the e-Yuan.In a statement on Sept. 18, Senator Bragg stated that “Australia must keep pace with the global race for regulation on digital assets” as “it is essential that the parliament drives law reform” on the matter.The new draft bill, titled Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2022, calls for the introduction of licenses for digital asset exchanges, digital asset custody services, stablecoin issuers, as well as disclosure requirements for facilitators of the e-Yuan in Australia. Australia must keep pace in the digital assets race: a bill to protect consumers, promote investment & protect our interests.Media statement: https://t.co/VxFnAKnh1vNew Bill: https://t.co/rtMj2t9Ng2— Senator Andrew Bragg (@ajamesbragg) September 18, 2022Speaking to Cointelegraph, Senator Bragg said Australia has “quite a risk exposure, as an economy, and that’s one of the reasons why we need to have a serious program for managing disruption, managing risks, that emanate from the development of a CBDC.”Senator Bragg said the objective of this particular act is to provide “an effective regulatory framework” as well as to provide “for the reporting of information by certain banks that facilitate the use or availability of digital Yuan in Australia” and to provide “additional duties” for governing bodies in relation to this act and the “regulation of activities relating to digital assets and digital Yuan.”Senator Bragg said that this isn’t “an accusatory position to take” it’s simply just being “prepared and gathering information” which he thinks is entirely “reasonable.”The Liberal senator also added that Australia wouldn’t benefit from having a CBDC as “privacy issues cannot be managed,” however it is important that the Australian government “put something on the table” to manage other CBDCs being introduced, as the Governor of The Reserve Bank of Australia has “spoken before saying there needs to be regulation on stablecoins.”The draft bill consultation is open until Oct. 31, 2022 and welcomes “community feedback.”Andrew Bragg, a pro-crypto Australian politician, has been an outspoken advocate for cryptocurrency since he was elected senator in 2019. Senator Bragg has been pushing for a clear regulatory framework for digital assets and crypto companies since 2021, in an effort to prevent local startups from moving overseas. Senator Bragg noted that he “chaired the committee” for digital assets with “no fixed view at the time” and “conducted an inquiry into these matters” as well as informing himself “about the risks and opportunities.”Related: Chinese municipal bank issues first-ever digital yuan loan using intellectual property as collateralMeanwhile, the Australian Labor government is said to be working on “crypto asset reforms” to “improve the way Australia’s regulatory system manages crypto assets.” Last month, the treasury stated it will “prioritize token mapping work in 2022, which will help identify how crypto assets and related services should be regulated.”

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