Professor Urges New Zealand Government to Develop Bitcoin Regulations
University of Auckland professor Alex Sims has implored the New Zealand government to develop bitcoin regulations. Sims argues that New Zealand has fallen behind comparable developed nations such as Australia in failing to develop a clear regulatory apparatus for companies that handle bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Head of Auckland University’s Commercial Law Department, Associate Professor Alex Sims, has urged the New Zealand government to legitimate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through developing a permissive regulatory apparatus. Sims argued that legitimating cryptocurrencies is imperative in order for the government to lay the groundwork required in order to facilitate the application of blockchain technology in a range of economic sectors.
“The technological advances are compelling, which is extraordinary from something that only came up under 10 years ago,” Sims told Interest.co.nz.
Sims contends that New Zealand has “dropped the ball” with respect to cryptocurrency regulations, and that the New Zealand government should follow the example set by neighboring Australia.
“In practice, businesses aren’t able to accept digital currencies, because if they do, they get their bank accounts closed down… We’re behind, but we can catch up. We can follow what Australia is doing. And some government departments in New Zealand are looking very… closely at what Australia is doing.”
Last week the Australian Justice Minister unveiled plans to amend its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act to put cryptocurrency exchange providers under the control of its financial authorities as a means of payment.
Alex Sims rejects concerns about the adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by criminal organizations.
“What is ironic is that cryptocurrencies – most of them – are actually far more traceable than cash. So [with] cash, if you get the money, you don’t know where it’s come from. Whereas with cryptocurrencies, you can look back, look at all the transactions, and find out exactly where it is… Some people have been saying you’d be stupid to buy drugs or anything illegal with bitcoin, because you can be traced.”
Sims admits that New Zealand’s inherited banking system may perceive bitcoin and cryptocurrenciesas an existential threat, but argues that conventional financial institutions should work with blockchain technology rather than against it. “Depending on how it is set up, it could reduce retail banks. So this is one reason why retail banks should work with people to get some of the stock.”
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