The news: Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenburg announced several regulatory proposals covering popular digital payment methods like cryptocurrencies, buy now, pay later (BNPL), and mobile wallets, per ZDNet.
How we got here: Earlier this year, the government released reviews that examined these offerings and concluded that they weren’t properly addressed by the current regulatory framework. The reviews included recommendations for the government like enacting more comprehensive policies, licensing requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges, and tighter oversight on major payment providers like Apple Pay.
Why it matters: Newer payment technologies like cryptos, BNPL, and mobile wallets have emerged as popular transaction methods for Australian consumers, 71% of whom say they now have access to more ways to pay than they did at the same time last year, according to a May 2021 report from Mastercard. The Australian government’s efforts to regulate these offerings might force relevant players to change how they operate—but in the long term, they could create more transparency and safeguards for consumers.
The bigger picture: The tranche of regulatory proposals reflects the Australian government’s desire to retain control over the country’s evolving payments system—a sentiment shared by other governments, including in China and Europe.
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