Someone said its the future of money, but whats was a playground once for young tech boffins, not so much seen as legitimate investment now by some older australians, clearly its a technology thats not going to go out anyway soon. In fact, the minister for superannuation and financial services, jane hume shes hit back at the reserve bank of australia. She says crypto currencies are not a fad and that australia risks losing out on major economic opportunities if were too fearful of embracing them. Jane hume joins me. Now from canberra, well, minister, thank you uh. I i know its a difficult um uh concept, cryptocurrencies blockchain, to get your head around, but i think we can see theyre, certainly becoming more and more mainstream. Why, though, are you sure theyre not a fad? Well peter about 17 of australians now invest in cryptocurrency, which demonstrates that there is a groundswell of support behind this new asset class and whatever it is that you feel about this asset class. I know i personally am not invested in it, and i know that there are plenty of people within the finance industry that shy away from it, whatever you might think about it as an asset class as a technology. Its certainly here to stay, and particularly uh decentralized finance, defy as its known, which uses smart contracts on a blockchain technology, is clearly uh has sparked an interest in the finance sector as well as within those that are interested in cryptocurrency alone because of its numerous applications.

So when the rba said that they thought thought that cryptocurrency was just a fad, i think it was specifically talking about that as an asset class rather than the technology underneath it so so im interested how? How can you ensure that, given the lack of regulatory oversight, you know theres no middleman, youre right to say its decentralized money? How do you ensure it has uh integrity? How, how are you sure it wont, pose a risk lets say to central banks for currency traders and money markets down the track? How do we get the regulatory environment right if we are going to say its worth, exploring as australians so theres a couple of issues there? One is the blockchain technology itself, which is uh authenticated if you like and verified by numerous unit users and thats, how you get the integrity of the system. Cryptocurrency is a little bit different though, and it is regulated right now. Ostrack is a regulator to make sure that anti monitoring law, anti money, monetary anti money laundering obligations are met. Uh asic is the regulator if its an investment, a triple c, are the regulator if it is uh, another form of um cryptocurrency like a utility, for instance, and of course the rba is involved too in the use of all currencies. So there are regulators out there, but this is a new asset class and my message today was really that we shouldnt be. We should certainly be cautious about the way we proceed, but we shouldnt be fearful, because the opportunity for innovation here is great and australia is, has a really great track record in innovation in financial services, and all you need to do is you know, look at the List of the top 100 fintechs in the world and australias companies like afterpay, for instance, are right up there.

This is something that we should be embracing and using and harnessing, rather than shying away from saying its all too hard, because i dont understand it and weve seen cba, for instance, come out and do just that so cba is including cryptocurrency investments now on its banking. App and and theres about six and a half million users in australia that are on there so and its one of the first banks around the world to do so, which is really forward. Leaning yeah, look at ive, seen real estate agents take part deposits housing deposits with cryptocurrencies. We know that people are in their cell repackaging and getting crypto thrown in there as well. So so what are the opportunities you want? Australians or the australian markets to take advantage of well, first and foremost, i think we should say that there is no doubt about it. That cryptocurrencies are a speculative investment. Now, should government ever get in the way of people investing in a speculative investment? No, if their eyes are wide open, if theyre fully informed, if they do so with full consent and informed consent, then governments should not have some sort of uh. You know wrap you up in cottonwool approach. We should have fully democratic financial markets, but at the same time, when you invest in a speculative investment, whether it be cryptocurrency, whether it be emu farms, whether it be tulips, whether it be speculative property, dont, come running to the government and or the taxpayer or indeed Industry should that speculative investment go south, and so that was a really important message today, too, we want people to take risks, certainly, but we want them to do it with their eyes wide open, jane hue minister for the superannuation of financial services.

Thank you. For your time its interesting there, the minister said tulips youll remember there was a book i think was 1600. Its called tulip mania that basically sent the world broke speculative investments on tulip bulbs.