By David Tuckwell on Thursday 2 November 2017
Treasurer hosed down suggestions that Australians could one day use bitcoin to pay their taxes
Treasurer Scott Morrison said there were no plans to allow Australians to pay their taxes with bitcoin.
There are no plans to allow Australians to pay their taxes with bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency, Treasurer Scott Morrison has said.
“This is an area where there is understandably a lot of fascination and speculation… it got a lot of attention at the recent meetings in Washington,” Mr Morrison said.
“[but] cryptocurrencies are a very small portion of what is happening in international transactions.
“In many cases they’ve developed because of the lack of advanced payments platforms in developing countries… in some cases for nefarious reasons.”
Taxes are vital for any currency as they guarantee value. That residents have to pay their taxes in a specific currency - like the Australian dollar - means that there will always be some demand for that currency.
One of the dangers analysts have pointed to in cryptocurrencies is that they have no such backstop. That no taxes fall due in bitcoin means there is no guaranteed government demand for it in the way that there is for sovereign currencies, like the Australian dollar. This means that, in theory, demand for bitcoin could evaporate overnight.
But there simply wasn’t the scale behind cryptocurrencies at the moment to justify government taking them in, Mr Morrison said. He added that governments around the world would continue watching cryptocurrencies closely and “often sceptically”.