Australia’s peak crypto lobby group drops ‘blockchain’ from name

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Australia’s top crypto industry body, Blockchain Australia, has nixed mention of the technology from its name in a bid to court a wider number of fintech firms and banks — rebranding itself as the Digital Economic Council of Australia (DECA).

The rebrand comes alongside CEO Simon Callaghan’s resignation from the role, with former operating chief Amy-Rose Goodey stepping up as managing director.

“Originally, we had a lot of focus on the digital asset businesses who were the primary cohort, but we have expanded significantly,” Goodey told Cointelegraph at Sydney’s Blockchain Week — set next year to change its name to “The Digital Economy Conference.”

“As the industry evolves, we have to evolve,” she added. “We’ve got digital ID and AI, and obviously, we’ve got Web3, consultants, cybersecurity — all of these different businesses need to feel like they’re reflected in the association.”

DECA plans for eight membership categories, including crypto and Web3, tokenization, government and charities, and payments and banking — among others.

The group’s wider remit to try to court payments and banking firms comes after a widening rift between the country’s banks and crypto firms.

Goodey on stage at Sydney’s Blockchain Week. Source: Ciaran Lyons/Cointelegraph

Last year, Australia’s “Big Four” banks — Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) — along with smaller banks such as Bendigo Bank, all started to block certain payments to crypto exchanges citing the risk of scams.

Binance Australia was also swiftly de-banked last year after payments provider Cuscal instructed the crypto exchange’s payments partner Zepto to cut ties. The Treasury even stepped in to warn that such de-banking “may drive businesses underground.” 

“This is one of the primary reasons why regulation is needed,” said Goodey.

She added the banks need to be comfortable with crypto as well. “There’s risk aversion, and they need to do their own due diligence.”

“I’m not saying what they’re doing is right, but I understand,” she added.

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“Once we have that framework, then there’ll be confidence in the market,” she said. “We need that certainty. We need that framework.”

In September, the Senate Committee on Economics Legislation rejected the crypto-regulating Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023 and instead recommended the government “continue to consult with industry on the development of fit-for-purpose digital assets regulation.”

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Additional reporting by Ciaran Lyons.