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Australian government-owned investment company considers crypto

Australian government-owned investment company considers crypto

Last updated 11th Aug 2022

The Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), owned by the Queensland Government, told the Financial Times it was exploring future investments in cryptocurrencies. 

According to QIC’s head of currencies, Stuart Simmons, as the crypto space matures and develops, super funds will have to respond to user demands and facilitate crypto investments. QIC, which manages assets worth $69 billion, is the fifth-largest pension fund in Australia.

The move signals a serious consideration of the digital assets space by retirement vehicles despite the present risks in regulation. Private investors and different family offices in Australia already have investments in digital assets. The “supers,” which merge and manage retirement savings for millions of Australians, have remained reluctant until now. 

More regulatory certainty and protections crucial

Simmons noted that conservative investors and pension fund managers would require more regulatory certainty and protections around unquantifiable risks to plunge into crypto. He stressed that QIC’s initial investment would be small owing to the lack of supervision in the crypto space. 

Uncertainties persist regarding how watchdogs and governments will intervene in the fast-growing digital assets space. Risks also remain, including market manipulation, theft, and fraud. Operational infrastructures to enable institutional investments remain immature, deterring big funds from dipping their toes into crypto. 

The current explosion of cryptocurrency markets has captured the interest of hungry investors worldwide. The Australian industrialist’s family office, the Victor Smorgon Group, took a digital asset equity stake in late September, a year after their first bitcoin investment

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Australia’s pursuit for global digital assets leadership

Recently, a committee to develop Australia as a financial and technology center expressed plans to make Australia a global leader in digital assets. The committee’s chairman, NSW Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg, lamented the absence of clear-cut cryptocurrency regulatory frameworks in Australia.  

The regulatory haziness makes it challenging for startups to secure bank partnerships. Bragg noted in the Sydney Morning Herald that as a result, Australian crypto entrepreneurs are fleeing to other jurisdictions, including Germany, Singapore, and Britain. 

Warning that Australian startups may move overseas permanently, Bragg called for a clear digital assets policy framework from the government for the fintech sector. In the second public hearing focusing on cryptocurrencies, market participants made a strong case for tapping into crypto.

QIC’s move may be a watershed moment for Australia’s crypto industry and super funds that remain unconvinced. Others like Queensland-based Sunsuper have only expressed interest in crypto technology while steering clear of bitcoin and other virtual currencies

Walter Akolo

Walter Akolo

Walter is a writer from Nairobi, Kenya. He covers the latest news on the cryptocurrency market and blockchain industry. Walter has a decade of experience as a writer.