Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offerings & Security Token Offerings

 
Our Blockchain team is led by one of Australia's leading Blockchain/crypto lawyers, John Bassilios. John is a Director of Blockchain Australia, the peak industry body for Blockchain/crypto.

Blockchain is a decentralised, distributed ledger that is used to record transactions made from many computers and that stops records being altered retroactively without all subsequent blocks being altered.

One of the driving forces behind blockchain is globalisation. Consumers, businesses and governments expect fast, reliable and secure ways of storing and transferring critically important data – including data relating to cryptocurrency, banking and finance, education, government and more.

Bitcoin, and more than 1,000 other cryptocurrencies, are enabled by blockchain. So too are the increasingly emerging ‘initial coin offerings’ (ICOs) and ‘security token offerings’ (STOs).

The digital landscape is changing quickly. By considering commercial, tax (including the GST treatment of digital currency) and regulatory issues, our team of lawyers look at the big picture to advise on blockchain, cryptocurrency, ICOs and STOs opportunities.

Crypto regulation in Australia: where are we now and where are we headed?

In this article, published in The International Journal of Blockchain Law, Partner John Bassilios and Lawyer Max Ding unpack Australia’s financial services and anti-money laundering laws, as applied to crypto products in Australia. They also discuss the gaps in Australia's regulatory framework and how they might be addressed. You can read the article on pages 19-22 of the journal (pages 21-24 of the PDF).

Our involvement

YBF Melbourne Web 3.0 Panel: The Promise of Distributed Technologies
Startup Victoria Fireside Chat: The Future of Work
Smart Cities Blockchain Hackathon
Westpac BlockHack 16
Preparing submissions to Treasury for consultation on legislative developments that address GST treatment of digital currency
Hall & Wilcox Interview with Crypto News Australia
Introduction to Security Tokens - BlockheadsTV Ep22
Blockchain centre - John and Karen
Hall & Wilcox Interview with Crypto News Australia

Experience

Financial services

  • Advising on and establishing, cryptocurrency funds
  • Reviewing and signing off on whitepapers and accompanying disclosure documents
  • Advice on operating digital currency exchanges, including the new Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing registration requirements for operators of exchanges
  • Advice on whether a cryptocurrency or digital token is a financial product  (which requires compliance with licensing and disclosure requirements) or whether the token environment constitutes the operation of a non-cash payment facility
  • Advice on how to restructure an ICO so that it is not a managed investment scheme
  • Advice on the legal implications of conducting a security token offering (STO)

 

GST

  • Advising on the GST implications of trading cryptocurrency through online platforms
  • Reviewing business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer onshore and offshore transactions where consideration comprises of cryptocurrency
  • Advising operators of electronic distribution platforms (websites, mobile phone applications, gaming platforms and other marketplaces) of the GST implications and compliance obligations

 

Litigation and dispute resolution

  • Advising in relation to a dispute pertaining to a subscription in an ICO
  • Advising in relation to jurisdictional and enforcement issues pertaining to the rights of a cryptocurrency owner

 

Tax

Hall & Wilcox Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Tax team regularly advises on:

  • the Australian tax treatment of cryptocurrency dealings by individuals (Australian resident and foreign resident)
  • structuring opportunities for various cryptocurrency dealings
  • domestic and international exchanges and cryptocurrency investment funds
  • negotiating private binding rulings requests on behalf of taxpayers.

The team has most recently provided submissions to Treasury and the OECD, and participated in Treasury’s roundtables, regarding the regulation of ICOs and tokens, and taxation of the digital economy. In addition, the team has significant experience with tax disputes and controversy generally, with a close working relationship with the Hall & Wilcox Dispute Resolution team.

Each of the following are actively involved in current cryptocurrency and blockchain matters:
Anthony BradicaMichael ParkerJim Koutsokostas, Adam Dimac and Todd Bromwich.

Key contact

John Bassilios

Partner & Fintech and Blockchain Lead

John has broad experience in financial services, funds management, blockchain, crypto, web3 and corporate law.

Related thinking

Fintech| 13 Feb 2024

ASIC case against Block Earner provides guidance for crypto business

This case sheds light on potential regulatory pathways and raises the prospect of cryptocurrencies being regulated in a manner similar to traditional financial services.

Fintech| 13 Dec 2023

Payment System modernisation – licensing: second consultation paper released

The Federal Government is continuing to seek feedback on a licensing framework for payment service providers, and has released a second consultation paper on the proposed framework.

Fintech| 23 Oct 2023

Modernising the payments regulatory framework to address emerging risks: draft legislation released

The Federal Government has released exposure draft legislation that seeks to modernise the payments regulatory framework and ensure that emerging risks related to payments are addressed.

Fintech| 17 Oct 2023

Regulating digital asset platforms – new regulatory framework proposed

The Government intends to introduce a regulatory framework for entities providing access to or holding digital assets on behalf of Australians and Australian businesses. We outline the reforms.