he digital currency – a growing force in the global iGaming industry - was ruled to be a commodity by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) last year, but a Senate Economics References Committee (SERC) review has followed the UK’s line by finding that Bitcoin should be treated like any other currency.
The definition of Bitcoin is important, not least as in Australia its adoption as a valid currency would make it exempt from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and other taxes.
Senator Sam Dastyari, head of SERC, said: “It is a brand new and, frankly, very exciting technology – and Australia has a real opportunity to be a world leader. Digital currencies could revolutionise aspects of the payments industry, how we conduct financial transactions, or trade existing fiat currencies."
SERC has said that further investigation will be needed before Bitcoin can be fully regulated by the likes of the Royal Bank of Australia (RBA), something that major banks have indicated will be required before they consider offering customers the possibility of banking their digital currency.
SERC took submissions from dozens of interested parties, not least technology companies who felt that last year’s ATO would be hugely detrimental to themselves and their customers.
Bitcoin is already treated as “money or money’s worth” in the UK, with the Gambling Commission recently reminding operators that they must be licensed to trade via Bitcoin as with any other currency. However, in the US, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled for tax purposes, Bitcoin is property and not a currency.