Aussie Token Mapping: Progress or Delaying Tactic?

The recently elected Labour government in Australia has announced a ‘token mapping’ exercise, to help it get on top of blockchain and crypto regulation – an issue that’s proving problematic for many countries. 

Token mapping basically means an investigation of the current state of the blockchain and crypto space and was recommended in a 2021 senate inquiry report. According to the government, the process will help it “identify how crypto assets and related services should be regulated” with a view to paving the way for policy. 

According to industry news site Cointelegraph, the Austrian Treasury will also be looking at other recommendations from the 2021 report. This will include looking at decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) and non-financial crypto assets. 

Despite Australia attempting to position itself as a blockchain and crypto hub, there is a distinct lack of clarity when it comes to regulatory issues. In common with many other countries (even those that made very public promises about being ‘blockchain friendly’, like Malta), the pace of technological progress has far outstripped the pace of understanding among politicians and regulators alike. 

Given this, many are asking if the ‘token mapping’ exercise is yet another attempt to buy time and ‘kick the can down the road’ because policymakers simply can’t grasp the technologies involved. Indeed, the fact that the government has hinted that it even assumes it’s possible to regulate and govern DAO’s shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what a DAO is! 

It’s not just Australian politicians and regulators getting left in the dust by blockchain and crypto. In the United States, federal regulators like the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) are risking torpedoing the entire US crypto industry through their controversial campaigns against companies like Ripple and Coinbase

The lack of understanding among politicians and regulators is also impacting the online casino space. For example, UK and Malta licensed online casinos have stopped accepting crypto directly due to bureaucratic friction and uncertainty. 

One thing is clear; the old political system is not compatible with the decentralised age.