Visa Australia’s head of innovation and fintech, Anthony Jones, also reinforced the growing popularity of the asset class, saying it was now well and truly mainstream with a recent study completed by the payments business showing that 93 per cent of Australians were aware of crypto.
“This widespread mainstream adoption is very much here, and we believe it’s here to stay,” he said.
Super funds have also started to sit up and pay attention to the booming asset class. Seamus Collins, chief investment officer at $12 billion Australian super fund Mine Super told the conference the fund had looked into crypto as an prospective investment, specifically investigating if it could be used as a hedge against the roil of global markets.
“We have historically looked at crypto and if it has a role as a hedge instrument or a store of value that’s uncorrelated and diversified. And I think you can certainly make that case,” he said.
However, Mr Collins said the current lack of regulatory certainty over the crypto space made it very hard for super funds to invest in the asset class on behalf of their members, saying doing so currently would be a “very courageous” decision.
“Super funds have virtually zero appetite for taking risk in the regulatory space, so it can be quite hard where we don’t see a really bulletproof story around compliance, assets, substantiation, security, and custody structures,” he said.
“But I’m certainly conscious that if we don’t engage with [crypto] we may miss something that’s critically important over the long term.”
On Monday, Senator Andrew Bragg announced that the government would seek to package its set of crypto reforms, announced last year, into a single piece of legislation called the Digital Services Act. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also released a consultation paper on Monday seeking industry feedback on the government’s proposed new crypto asset licensing and custody requirements.