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In a bid to protect crypto investors, Choice, an Australia based consumer advocacy group called for government action. The group is calling for exchanges to be subject to the consumer protection obligations as in the financial services sector.
The development comes at a time when more and more instances of scams are heard in the Australia crypto space. Only about one in 10 Australians have purchased cryptocurrency over the past one year, but many have been scammed. The recent crypto market crash wiped out billions of dollars of money, including Australian investors.
Australia Top Crypto Market
According to Finder’s survey, roughly 3.6 million internet users in Australia say they own crypto. The country ranks sixth out of 27 countries for cryptocurrency ownership, in terms of number of people owning the assets.
Bitcoin is Australia’s most popular currency, with 63.8% of crypto owners having it in their wallets. Ethereum is the second most popular coin at 39.2%, while Dogecoin is at third place at 31.7%.
Crypto Scams Unabated
Meanwhile, more than seven out of 10 who are interested in the crypto market declined to make a purchase. The reasons being concerns about volatility, being scammed or otherwise losing their money in Australia crypto space.
Patrick Veyret, Choice’s senior policy adviser, said,
“The crypto market is booming, but our laws are lagging behind. More and more Australians are purchasing crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Etherum without adequate consumer protections. There’s been a number of recent collapses of exchanges where people have lost all of their savings with no ability to get their money back.”
In a report submitted to Australia’s top leadership, Choice called for a single definition for crypto assets to be able to regulate easily. It also proposed a licensing regime for all exchanges, in line with the Australian Financial Services Licence regime.
Crypto exchanges should be bound by consumer protection provisions including a prohibition on misleading and deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, and unfair contract terms, the group demanded. Also, the exchanges must have measures in place to prevent fraudulent payments and to reimburse consumers when they occur.