Labor senator Sam Dastyari Advocates for Bitcoin, Warns Australian Banks


Labor senator Sam Dastyari Advocates for Bitcoin, Warns Australian Banks

Advocating Bitcoin, Labor senator Sam Dastyari has warned Australian banks not to act like a bunch of ostriches with their heads in the sand when confronting the rise of the digital currency. He also urged ­companies to provide feedback to a ­Senate inquiry into how to regulate the highly volatile digital currency to move ahead.

His statement has come after the indications that Australian banks are highly skeptical and cautious in dealing with Bitcoins. For instance, NAB retreated from digital currencies including Bitcoin this year as the company says that it is too risky. A lot of the suspicion on Bitcoin is due to it being a decentralized currency.

Recently, NAB, Westpac Banking Corp, ANZ Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia along with seventy organizations that have been approached by the inquiry’s committee submitted their views to a committee chaired by Senator Dastyari. The Reserve Bank of Australia, the Australian Federal Police was also part of the group.

Even some international firms such as lobby group Bitcoin Foundation in the United States, and online payments behemoth PayPal formed the group that put their views in front of the committee. Senator Dastyari said that the fact is the banking sector can’t act like a bunch of ostriches and stick their heads in the sand.

He cautioned that the banks should not ­pretend these digital currencies aren’t a real thing. According to him too often it is observed that the banking ­sector has a tendency to try and pretend that change isn’t coming down the pipeline, in a bid to protect what is their market position.

Skepticism Must Go for Probity in Banking

However, according to him there were certain parts of the banking sector that realized they had to address the rise of digital currencies, because “it’s the future”. Nonetheless, as Australian banks have been highly skeptical and cautious in dealing with Bitcoins, his suggestion may prompt them to think about the digital currency.

In a statement a NAB spokesman said the bank was considering the terms of reference in the inquiry. However, it made clear that it does not bank or trade in unregulated currencies, or have any plans to do so. Also, it is too early to comment as they are developing their position on the issue.

Australia has still not banned Bitcoin and there are several organizations that provide Bitcoin exchange services and the country even has Bitcoin ATM.

To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at