Financial services update: crypto-currencies in Australia — specifically bitcoin

By Marianne Robinson

While the use of crypto-currencies such as bitcoin have increased in popularity in Australia, there has been very little legal clarification provided by regulators or legislators in relation to its legal status.

Bitcoins are referred to in a number of ways, including a peer-to-peer payment system, a digital currency and a global currency. The challenge presented by bitcoin is its versatility. It can be mined, stored, used as an investment, traded, used to purchase goods and services, form part of a salary package, used as part of a derivatives transaction or exchanged for physical currency.

The first official regulatory response was issued on 21 August by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in the form of public guidance on the treatment for transactions associated with crypto-currencies, specifically bitcoin…

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