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Blockchain Australia CEO calls for unified efforts to stamp out crypto scams

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Blockchain Australia’s new CEO, Simon Callaghan, is urging Australia’s banks, the government and the crypto industry to come together to combat rising cryptocurrency scams.

Speaking on the final day of Australian Blockchain Week in Melbourne on June 30, Callaghan announced that the association will now be focused on helping prevent scams that involve crypto, among its other efforts.

Simon Callaghan speaking at Australian Blockchain Week on June 30. Source: Cointelegraph

“We’re going to have to work with the banking sector. We’re going to have to work with the government,” the CEO said, stressing the need to protect consumers.

Callaghan however noted that scams often originate on social media or through telecommunication channels — noting that policing efforts need to start from the point of first contact:

“Crypto is either an exit point or minor piece in the lifecycle of the scam, the scam happens much further up the chain.”

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The CEO noted that few countries have managed to cooperate efficiently to combat cryptocurrency scams so far, but shared hopes Australia can break that barrier and set an example for other jurisdictions:

“If we can take some leadership on that in Australia, I think we can certainly take that forward globally as well.”

Cryptocurrency-related scams have been a headline issue in Australia over the past month. Since May, two of Australia’s largest banks imposed restrictions or outright bans on certain payments made to cryptocurrency exchanges, citing the rising threat of scams.

The Australian government has also shown interest in tackling the issue, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) — the country’s consumer watchdog — set to open its National Anti-Scam Center on July 1.

According to the ACCC, the NASC will collate expertise and resources to prevent scammers from making contact with Australians and to raise consumer awareness about how to avoid scams.

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Trevor Power, an Australian Treasury assistant secretary, told Cointelegraph on June 26 that the Australian government is investing heavily into reducing scams and that cryptocurrency-related scams will be a focus for the NASC:

“I think it has been pointed out that crypto at the moment is a significant vector for scams, and so obviously, it’s part of the center of their work; they will also be focusing on crypto.”

Related: Crypto debanking could drive industry underground: Australian Treasury

Earlier this week, Blockchain Australia said it planned on examining scam data collected from cryptocurrency exchanges and, from that, share the best practices for scam and fraud prevention.

Blockchain Australia is the peak industry body for blockchain in Australia. The body represents 111 blockchain-based firms operating in Australia, according to the firm’s website.

Magazine: Australia’s world-leading crypto laws are at the crossroads: The inside story