Cryptocurrency trading has become big business in Australia, according to joint research by the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ACDA) and Accenture.
According to the study, the country’s crypto market reached new levels in 2017, with significant gains in trading value and volumes. During the year, over AU$3.9 billion ($3B USD) was traded on cryptocurrency exchanges with more than 300,000 active traders, 83% of whom were male and under the age of 40.
The study examined data from seven local crypto exchanges. It showed that the exchanges processed more than 2.7 million cryptocurrency transactions in 2017. The largest individual transaction by any exchange was worth AU$500,000 ($384,000 USD). The most popular cryptocurrency was bitcoin with AU$1.86 billion ($1.4B USD) in volume followed by ethereum with AU $712 million ($547M USD) in trading.
The study also found that associated employment across the crypto industry is rising rapidly, with the average number of employees per exchange almost quadrupling during 2017, from 2.9 full-time employees (FTEs) in January 2017 to 11.3 FTEs by December 2017. Crypto exchnages expect to have 25.7 FTEs, on average, by the end of 2018, with the largest crypto exchnage projected to employ 40 FTEs.
Arjan Bloemer, a managing director at Accenture who leads the company’s Financial Services Technology Advisory practice in Australia and New Zealand, said that the research clearly shows that cryptocurrencies are making waves globally and in Australia.
“The technology behind them can change many aspects of our current financial system, and we believe that central banks and financial institutions can play a key role in shaping this landscape by establishing a strong foundation for the use of cryptocurrencies, ensuring economic growth and consumer protection and supporting the adoption of progressive approaches to currency control and use,” said Bloemer.
Nicholas Giurietto, CEO and managing director of the ACDA, said the result of the study demonstrate that Australians are enthusiastically participating in the crypto market.
“They show that it is more important than ever for the industry, regulators and banks to work together to further improve standards of security and consumer protection,” said Giurietto. “Australians trading in digital currencies should be encouraged to do so using ADCA-certified exchanges based in Australia, where strong consumer safeguards apply.”
Beginning April 3, crypto exchanges operating in Australia will need to be able to prove they can conform with updated anti-money laundering laws, and will have to sign up with a newly-created Digital Currency Exchange Register. The new rules were officially signed off in December 2017 and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (Austrac) will implement them.
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