Treasury Consultation on Crypto Industry Regulation

On 21 March 2021, Treasury released a consultation paper on the potential regulation of Crypto-Assets Secondary Service Providers (CASSPrs) (the Paper), marking an early government attempt to regulate the crypto industry. There is a strong emphasis throughout the Paper on the need to protect consumers and provide greater security and confidence in dealing with crypto assets, while still encouraging innovation and the requisite regulatory flexibility to adjust to a rapidly changing technology. The Paper acknowledges the increased prevalence of digital assets both within Australia and globally, with more than 800,000 Australians having transacted in digital assets in the last 3 years. Australia has also pledged to spend $1.2 billion on their Digital Economy Strategy aimed at making the country “a leading digital economy society by 2030”.

What are crypto assets and CASSPrs?
ASIC defines crypto assets as:

“A digital representation of value or contractual rights that can be transferred, stored or traded electronically, and whose ownership is either determined or otherwise substantially affected by a cryptograph proof.”

In the Paper, a CASSPrs is defined as:

“Any natural or legal person who, as a business, conducts one or more of the following activities or operations for or on behalf of another natural or legal person:
i. exchange between crypto-assets and fiat currencies;
ii. exchange between one or more forms of crypto assets;
iii. transfer of crypto assets;
iv. safekeeping and/or administration of virtual assets or instruments
enabling control over crypto assets; and
v. participation in and provision of financial services related to an
issuer’s offer and/or sale of a crypto asset.”

Notably, these definitions do not capture the issuing of crypto which is to remain unregulated. It appears that presently, priority is being given to the protection of consumers from those providing access to crypto services, rather than the products themselves. This is except for crypto assets that are classified as financial products, which are currently regulated under AFS licensing regime.
These definitions have been created to provide more precision in the description of digital assets. ASIC’s definition of a crypto asset can be incorporated into all of Australia\’s current regulatory regimes, and its definition is intentionally wide. The idea is that a wider definition more closely matches the aim of providing a flexible regulatory framework.

How will CASSPrs be regulated?
The Paper proposes the creation of a regulatory framework like the current AFS licensing framework for CASSPrs. The proposed CASSPr licensing regime would operate independently but would still be administered by ASIC. The classification as a CASSPr would apply to anyone who fits the definition, regardless of the services provided.

The suggested CASSPr licensing regime would include:


      • minimum standards and obligations, such as to act fairly and honestly;

      • new obligations including compliance with all relevant Australian laws, regular independent audits, and general prohibitions on scams and misrepresentation;

      • prohibitions on hawking and pressure selling; and

      • allowing ASIC to provide relief through the establishment of enforcement and supervisory mechanisms including the powers to gather information (and civil and criminal penalties).

    Significantly, the proposed regime does not require CASSPrs to meet disclosure requirements or provide notification of breaches as is the case for AFS license holders. Decentralised protocols also wouldn’t be required to have a license.

    What are the alternatives to a CASSPr licensing regime?
    The Paper also seeks feedback on two proposed alternatives, being:

    1. the regulation of CASSPrs within the already established AFS Licensing framework; or
    2. the crypto industry being self-regulated.

    Option 1
    According to the Paper, the regulation of CASSPrs in the same legislative regime as AFS licensing would include:


        • classifying crypto assets as financial products and requiring CASSPrs to have a ‘trading venue’ to hold a market license;

        • adjusting the AFS licensing regime to ‘achieve the appropriate outcomes’ for crypto assets; and

        • providing flexibility for the government or ASIC to issue exemptions for certain crypto assets.

      Attempts to regulate a rapidly changing industry with laws created before the technology was conceived, will no doubt be problematic. As noted in the Paper, this approach may not necessarily provide the desired flexibility needed to cope with the innovation that comes from crypto technology. It is likely that both the adjustment of the AFS licensing regime for crypto-assets and issuing of exemptions will cause delays and ultimately stifle innovation in the space.

      Option 2
      The proposed self-regulation of the crypto industry would include:


          • the creation of a code of conduct for service providers addressing matters such as consumer protection and levels of insurance;

          • industry set minimum standards or codes of conduct (a good starting point would be consideration of Blockchains Australia’s code of conduct); and

          • maintenance of the application of AML/CTF regulations.

        The Paper notes a similar approach has been taken in the US and UK where only crypto assets which are securities or financial products are regulated. While a similar approach would provide the flexibility required to keep pace with the innovation being seen with crypto technology, its lack of an effective recourse mechanism may prove challenging.

        The Paper seeks submissions on whether there should be an external dispute resolution body and whether the establishment of the same would be an appropriate approach. There has also been a suggestion that a \’Digital Services Act\’ may also be introduced to protect consumers and allow Australia to regulate the potential and promise of blockchain technology.

        A self-regulatory approach for the crypto industry currently seems the most adaptable and appropriate for Australia, consistent with the US and UK approaches. The government evidently wants to continue to foster the growth and innovation of crypto assets whilst employing a flexible regulatory regime. The proposed CASSPr licensing regime would likely fall short because whilst the definitions it uses are wide, they are unlikely to keep pace with the new developments within the crypto industry. Therefore, over a short period of time, more and more regulatory gaps would appear. Furthermore, the retrofitting of crypto regulation into the already existing AFS Licensing regime would be cumbersome at best and unlikely to be easily amended to meet new developments. A regulatory regime that is too rigid will prejudice the development and adoption of crypto assets within Australia. A self-regulatory approach would more closely align Australia with other global leaders in crypto technology and ultimately position Australia to be one of the prime benefactors of digital assets.

        Submissions to Treasury’s Consultation are due by COB 27 May 2022 and can be sent to

        This article was written by GRT Lawyers, Panashe Muzira (Law graduate). 


        More Posts

        GRT Alert: A Milestone in GRT’s Global Expansion

        We are delighted to announce the launch of GRT Lawyer’s International Projects Division.  This GRT corporate development not only aligns seamlessly with GRT’s Corporate Business Plan, but also signifies another monumental stride forward for our organization, both nationally and internationally. The Head of GRT Lawyer’s International Projects Division is Amarzaya Gantumur. With a remarkable legal background spanning

        GRT Alert – ASX Compliance Update

        Effective 5 February 2024, ASX has changed the procedures for entities applying for admission to the official list as an ASX-listed Company.In summary, the changes relate to: Spread RequirementsListing Rule 1.1 condition 8 provides that: Poor quality information about spread can delay or prevent a listing from proceeding. Therefore, ASX has developed a spread register

        GRT Alert – ASX Corporate Governance Council Update

        The ASX Corporate Governance Council has recently released a package of consultation materials for a proposed fifth edition of its Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations. Since its inception, the document aspires to represent a leading standard on corporate governance, and addresses important issues such as corporate conduct, culture, diversity, risk management, reporting, and remuneration. The

        GRT Alert -Arado Sale – Announcement

        GRT Lawyers has advised Canopy Tools Group Pty Ltd, CT4 Pty Ltd, and NewBase Computer Services Pty Ltd on the sale of their Arado cloud and managed services business to security and cloud service specialist Sovereign Cloud Holdings Limited, which trades as AUCloud (ASX:SOV) for a total purchase price of $7 million, comprising $3.325 million

        Send Us A Message

        Proudly Designed and Developed By
        Morelly ® Business Optimisation

        © 2023 GRT Lawyers
        Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. All rights reserved.


        Juanita Williams

        Juanita has over 10 years’ experience practicing across planning and environment, mining and resource, and corporate and commercial. Juanita provides a wealth of experience and expertise to the corporate team, bringing a diverse perspective from her years across multi-disciplinary areas. 

        Juanita has advised a diverse range of clients across various aspects of corporate and commercial law, including establishing incorporated associations, various contractual and advisory work in the pharmaceutical space, and advising on aspects of ASX Listing Rule compliance. 

        Juanita’s passion for advising corporate clients lead her to completing a Master of Laws (Business Law) in 2023. She has a keen interest in ASX disclosure obligations, in particular those relating to climate-related risk disclosure and ESG.


        Meghan Bower

        Meghan is a dedicated and high-performing graduate joining our commercial disputes team with over 5 years of pre-admission experience handling complex personal injury cases. She brings a comprehensive understanding of legal intricacies and a passion for advocating for her clients.

        Throughout her career, Meghan has honed her skills in due diligence work, contract review, advice, ADR and multi-jurisdictional litigation including claims in the Supreme Courts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. Her journey in the legal field has been marked by her unwavering commitment to client service and her ability to thrive under pressure. Meghan is on the cusp of becoming a qualified lawyer and is eager to contribute her skills and knowledge to GRT’s specialist litigation team.

        Senior Associate

        Holly McConnell

        Holly is a Senior Associate in our Corporate Advisory group with a particular focus on equity capital markets, public and private mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters, including compliance with the Corporations Act and ASX Listing Rules.  Holly acts for a range of clients, including listed and unlisted companies, small to large proprietary companies, early stage ventures, individuals and trustees.

        Holly was admitted to practice as a solicitor in 2016 and worked for several years in a major national Australian law firm, prior to joining GRT Lawyers.


        Andrew Doak

        Andrew begun his legal career as a law clerk in Brisbane in 2008 and continued this through his studies until he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Queensland University of Technology in 2011.

        He was admitted as a solicitor in 2012 and shortly thereafter moved to London where he worked for global top tier and Magic Circle law firms covering a variety of arbitration and litigation matters. As a highly skilled legal professional, he was responsible for managing multiple teams on document heavy litigation, many of which were centered around energy, commercial, insurance and financial services disputes.

        Andrew had worked with senior lawyers and counsel on several high profile and well-publicised cases including class actions, large financial regulatory investigations, and complex international matters before making the decision to return home to Brisbane and join GRT in 2024.

        Office Assistant

        Lilly Monaghan

        Lilly became part of the GRT Lawyers team in October 2022, stepping into the role of Office Assistant. With a wealth of professional experience spanning more than ten years, Lilly has actively contributed in various administrative capacities.

        This diverse background equips her with extensive expertise within the realm of administration, strengthening our team and the support provided to GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation.

        Admin Coordinator

        Amelia Milsop

        Amelia is a highly skilled professional with seven years of experience working in administrative, and executive support roles. Her diverse skill set includes expertise in administration support, office operations, events management, and marketing. 

        As an administrator, Amelia plays a vital role in overseeing day-to-day operations, administration support, streamlining processes, and maintaining efficient workflows. With her extensive experience, diverse skill set, and passion, Amelia brings a unique perspective and a well-rounded approach to her administrative work.

        Finance Manager

        Chan Hu

        Full bio coming soon!


        Dale Copley

        Dale began working with GRT Lawyers at the start of 2023 after beginning his legal career with  top-tier firm. He recently retired from professional sports and is relatively new to the legal field, having been admitted in November of 2022.

        Dale values the importance of teamwork and advising clients to assist them in achieving their business goals. His experience as a professional athlete has instilled in him the significance of collective efforts and strategic collaboration – qualities that now define his approach to his career in law.

        He has a strong interest in equity markets and is acquiring valuable experience by advising on capital raises and various ASX listing rule concerns.


        Rebecca Wei

        As an accomplished associate corporate lawyer, Rebecca contributes a fresh perspective and a robust work ethic to our legal team. She has swiftly gained experience in corporate law, demonstrating dedication to assisting clients with their legal needs in an ever-evolving business landscape.

        Rebecca specialises in capital market transactional matters, contract drafting, and corporate governance. She has supported senior lawyers in advising a diverse range of clients, including established corporations, startups, and entrepreneurs.

        Senior Corporate Advisor

        Alana Nisbet

        Alana has over 10 years’ experience practicing predominantly in international top tier firms in Australia, London and Guernsey. Her primary practice areas are public and private mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and investment funds and she has significant experience advising on complex corporate transactions.

        Alana is valued for her exemplary client service and have been ranked as a “Rising Star” for Equity Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions by Legal 500.

        Senior Associate

        Amarzaya Gantumur

        Amarzaya is the Head of GRT Lawyer’s International Projects Division.

        She has over 14 years of experience in the global legal industry in both civil and common law jurisdictions. She has acted as counsel in numerous complex corporate and commercial transactions, and litigation matters, including cross border litigation and international commercial arbitration.

        As a common law trained lawyer with working experiences in both civil law and common law jurisdictions, Amarzaya is particularly dedicated to international work due to her international clients and her global network. 

        Her recent work experience includes representing a Mongolian state-owned entity in an international commercial arbitration (under SIAC rules); representing an Australian/Philippines entity in an international commercial arbitration (under SIAC rules); providing wide range of legal and technical support to a global mining services company in its operation in Mongolia; providing legal and technical support to a Mongolian financial institute in its operation in Australia.   

        Amarzaya graduated from the School of Law, National University of Mongolia in 2004 and holds an LLM (Corporate and Finance Law) from the University of Hong Kong. She is fluent in both English and Mongolian. She was appointed as an arbitrator with the Mongolian International Arbitration Centre in 2022. She is a member of various other professional organizations, including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

        Senior Associate

        Rachel Hendrie

        Rachel is a commercial dispute resolution lawyer who has experience in litigating significant commercial, construction and financial services disputes and in international arbitration. She is experienced with managing document heavy litigation.

        Her experience includes assisting major Australian banks in civil penalty proceedings initiated by AUSTRAC in the Federal Court of Australia concerning AML/CTF compliance and fraud investigations, assisting financial services clients with responding to ACCC and ASIC notices including corporate shareholder and contractual disputes for oil and gas clients in Supreme Courts.

        Rachel has worked for global top-tier law firms in both Brisbane and Melbourne.

        Senior Associate

        Alexander Sloan

        Alex is a commercial litigator with experience in funded litigation and class actions. He has acted for publicly listed companies (both ASX and SGX), large private companies, litigation funders, SMEs, and company directors in a range of commercial disputes.

        His experience includes complex, cross-border financial services litigation, class actions, product liability, insolvencies, and corporate disputes.

        Alex has prosecuted and defended claims in the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, and in the Federal Court of Australia. He also acted in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

        Alex was admitted to practice as a solicitor in 2015 and worked for several years in a national Australian law firm, prior to joining GRT Lawyers in 2021.

        General Manager

        Aylesha James-Pearson
        m 0433 555 812


        • Business Operations
        • People and Culture
        • Human Resources
        • Marketing
        • Event Coordination
        • Project Management


        Aylesha serves as the General Manager at GRT Lawyers, providing effective leadership and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the firm. In her role, she manages human resources, marketing, events, and directly supervises the Administration team.

        Bringing more than 19 years of experience in office management, senior administration, project and event management, as well as human resources, Aylesha has a proven track record of excellence in high-pressure environments. Her wealth of experience and professionalism ensures the seamless functioning of the firm. Aylesha excels in optimizing operational efficiencies by reviewing and implementing systems, policies, and procedures to support business functions, resulting in impactful results. She adopts a holistic approach, balancing a keen eye for detail with a focus on overarching goals.

        Aylesha’s passion lies in people and culture, where she actively fosters strong relationships across all levels of the business. She connects with staff to instill the core values of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation, believing in creating value through people. Her approach involves working with passion and understanding, offering support and cultivating relationships that enhance both business and individual performance.


        Her career history encompasses multi-faceted roles giving her exposure to the specialty fields of Human Resources, Marketing and Event Management. Roles have included:

        • Human resources, including recruitment, performance management, staffing, new employee onboarding, employee benefits, payroll and training and development.
        • Marketing – including roles involving the development and implementation of marketing and business development strategies.
        • Background in planning internal and external events from conception through to execution, displaying qualities of a successful event planner: thorough yet precise, expert knowledge, ingenuity in identifying and solving problems and clear, concise communication.

        “There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow.” -Elizabeth Gilbert


        Ashley Hill
        m 0415 150 866


        • Commercial litigation
        • International commercial arbitration
        • Energy – oil, gas, coal, and electricity
        • Product liability – recalls and litigation
        • Resources – water and agribusiness
        • Financial services
        • Insurance – including D&O, PI and BI
        • Regulatory – securities and governance; anti-bribery and anti-corruption
        • Hotel development and management disputes
        • IT industry disputes
        • IP claims including counterfeiting, passing-off, copyright infringement
        • Mediation, Adjudication and Advocacy


        Ashley has in excess of 23 years’ experience as a litigator and disputes lawyer. In his time at GRT Lawyers and working for top-tier Australian and global law firms (in the Middle-East and Singapore), Ashley has acted for clients across multiple continents on complex commercial litigation and international arbitration.


        Ashley’s current practice includes investment protection and dispute matters across a number of industry sectors including energy and resources, financial services, technology, agribusiness, tourism, in addition to contentious regulatory, insurance disputes and product liability matters.

        The international scope of Ashley’s work has given him a valuable insight into cross-border disputes in common law and civil law jurisdictions. He has practical experience with most of the world’s renowned international commercial arbitration institutions including ICC, LCIA, SIAC, SCC and ICDR/AAA.

        Since 2014, Ashley has been listed in ‘Best Lawyers in Australia’ Peer Review for the categories of International Arbitration, Litigation, Insurance and Product Liability.  In 2019, Ashley was added to the Doyle’s Guide Leading Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Lawyers in Queensland.


        Ashley holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Arts (University of New England) and he is:

        • a member of the Queensland Law Society (QLS)
        • Executive Council Member of Asia-Pacific Forum for International Arbitration (AFIA)
        • Associate Member of Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA); and
        • ordinary member of Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA)

        Scott Standen
        m 0447 790 009


        • In depth understanding of the M&A processes (public M&A and private M&A transactions)
        • Public equity capital markets transactions
        • Management of due diligence processes
        • Deep understanding of governance frameworks
        • Corporate structuring
        • Capital structure management
        • Transaction management

        Scott is a founder and Director of GRT Lawyers and GRT Foundation and corporate lawyer. He leads a team of specialist legal professionals, providing advice to organisations of all sizes, from middle market, large corporates and government owned corporations.

        Scott’s career spans more than 20 years as a corporate lawyer and has encompassed an in-house general counsel role, director of Statutory Authorities and corporate legal adviser to managing directors, chief financial officers and boards of directors of ASX listed companies.

        Scott is regularly called on by clients to provide strategic corporate advice to boards of directors and to project manage merger and acquisition transactions and public equity markets transactions. He prides himself in providing technically accurate and commercially focused corporate advice for public, private and listed companies, boards of directors and corporate advisers.

        In particular, Scott advises on public equity markets transactions, debt issuances and restructuring, corporate governance and advisory, regulatory compliance, public and private M&A transactions, contract negotiation and directors’ duties and liabilities.


        Scott’s experience includes:

        • Advising Cerro Resources Limited in relation to its public market merger and acquisition deal with Canadian based Primero Gold Limited and the concurrent spin out of assets to Santana Metals Limited and listing of Santana Metals Limited on ASX
        • Advising Discovery Metals Limited in relation to its A$250 million debt restructuring and associated equity raisings and proposed convertible note issue
        • Advising Polymetals Limited in relation to its acquisition by Southern Cross Goldfields by way of scheme of arrangement
        • Advising Southern Cross Goldfields Limited in relation to its A$60 million capital raising transaction involving equity, debt and hybrid securities
        • Dual listing on Hong Kong Exchange of ASX listed company
        • ASX listing of Asia focused technology / media company and
        • ASX listing of Apiam Animal Health Limited, vertically integrated provider of services and product to agricultural industry and
        • ASX listing of P2P Transport Limited.


        Scott holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Business Administration and a Masters of Law. Scott has previously held positions as a Director on the Boards of the Queensland Manufactured Water Authority (and related entities) and the Queensland Bulk Water Authority (and related entities).

        Managing Director

        Glenn Vassallo
        0422 857 760


        • Public capital markets
        • Corporate law
        • Private capital markets
        • Corporate advisory
        • Corporate structuring
        • Complex corporate disputes
        • Social entrepreneurship


        Glenn is a founder of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation. As the Managing Director of GRT Lawyers and chair of the GRT Foundation, Glenn is passionate about working with his highly sophisticated national and international clients to implement their corporate strategy and solve their complex problems.

        Glenn is passionate about implementing the corporate strategy of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation. Glenn’s significant experience in formulating and executing complex corporate transactions (including IPOs, takeovers, and other equity capital market transactions) with a particular focus on national and international stock and security exchanges puts him in a unique position to provide excellent advice.


        After building GRT Lawyers into a high-quality law firm, and together with his wife Eliza, establishing the GRT Foundation into a sustainable Australian charity, Glenn built GRT App (a subsidiary of GRT Lawyers) and sold that to an ASX listed company. Glenn was the first chairperson of any Australian ASX listed company to successfully chair a real-time virtual meeting of shareholders. He is still today, the only person who has chaired a real-time virtual shareholders meeting for an ASX listed company.

        Glenn is often invited to speak on global topics such as capital markets, initial public offerings, takeovers and more recently was invited to New York University to speak at its global conference about social entrepreneurship.


        Glenn holds a Bachelor Degree of Law (LLB) and a Bachelor Degree of Commerce. He has been a long-standing member of the Law Council of Australia Company Law Committee and the Queensland Law Society Company Law Committee, member of the Australian India Business Council (Energy and Resources – Subcommittee) and has significant ASX listed board experience.