Huobi to start AUD to crypto trading on 5 July
Good people and a nice climate, Huobi says, of AUSTRAC and cryptocurrency regulation respectively.
As a borderless technology, cryptocurrency can generally be widely traded all over the world. As such, crypto-to-crypto exchanges like Binance and Huobi tend to be available all over the world, except where crypto is explicitly banned.
Fiat currency, like US dollars or Australian dollars, is much trickier. It involves setting up banking arrangements and swallowing a raft of strict compliance obligations that differ in every country around the world. As such, it can be a lot harder to make that first fiat-to-crypto trade than it is to trade crypto for crypto and the options are much more limited.
Unfortunately, Australia isn't the world's biggest market, so it really isn't at the top of any company's list. This unfortunate fact holds as true for crypto as for every other industry.
The Huobi exchange thinks otherwise though. It's already been available to Australians as a crypto-to-crypto exchange but will be opening its doors to AUD deposits on 5 July.
It consistently tends to be among the world's top three exchanges by trade volume – although there have been rumours of wash trading – and offers a sizable library of coins, so it could be a significant addition to the marketplace.
A pleasant regulatory climate
Huobi Global's Australian head Adrian Harrison described the welcoming regulatory climate as one of the main factors that brought Huobi to Australia.
Harrison said that Australia has "a very receptive and progressive set of regulators" and noted that registering as an exchange with AUSTRAC was a fairly quick and painless endeavour.
He's not the first to comment on this. Even while other countries were getting bogged down in a regulatory morass and impeded by inter-agency scuffling, Australia was crypto clear and decisively headed up by AUSTRAC.
"We're registered and ready to go," Harrison said.
Part of the reason it's so good, he says, is because Australian regulators are willing to focus on building bridges between the crypto and blockchain community and the banks and lawyers who don't necessarily have the know-how to manage crypto assets.
By providing this kind of support, he says, it becomes a "positive feedback loop" that helps people take cryptocurrency more seriously and makes it easier for people from traditional banking backgrounds to get involved.
This might be what AUSTRAC has in mind. When the existing banks and providers can compliantly onboard crypto clients themselves, and once the Australian market gets seeded with enough crypto-compliance experts, AUSTRAC might be able to sit back a bit and stop expending resources on taking such an active role.
Huobi offers about 200 different coins all up, but it will start with only about 10 AUD-fiat pairings, and then bring in more options on an ongoing basis until it has "a number of pairings that satisfies the Australian market," Harrison says.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and NANO.