Australian digital currency exchanges have more than 300,000 customers, with more than 232,000 of registering in 2017, according to new research.
A report prepared for the Australian Digital Commerce Association by Accenture, Industry of the New, says that in February last year, the average value of a cryptocurrency trade was $230. By the end of the year it was around $1800.
Trading in December accounted for 59 per cent of the value of transactions for the year, reflecting the big increase in the value of Bitcoin and other digital currencies during the year.
There were 4.1 million transaction in Australia last year, with a value of $5.9 billion.
Exchange operators say trading activity has fallen off sharply this year, as the value of digital currencies has fallen heavily.
Eighty-three per cent of the people who trade cryptocurrencies are men, 71 per cent are aged 18 to 39 and the majority are retail investors.
Industry experts quoted in the report include Jonathon Miller, the managing director of Bit Trade, who says customers still need educating in matters such as how to store their cryptocurrency securely and manage their tax
Aub Chapman, a consultant and co-chair of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists Australian Chapter, says customers are uncertain about the role of cryptocurrencies in payments.
“While trading and investing activity is growing fast, it’s going to be slower than a lot of people think for mainstream value payments. There will be a toe in the water approach from a lot of industries. It will be patchy in the short to medium term,” Chapman says.
Paul Derham, partner, fintech and financial advisory at Holly Nethercote, says: “There is a huge policy issue when it comes to regulation and that is what to do about coin-to-coin exchanges and coin-to-coin transfers between exchanges,” says
“After individuals have cryptocurrency coins in their account, there is no data collected systematically about where the coins then move to. It is a huge money-laundering risk.”