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A look at DAO regulation in Australia

A view from the Future (well actually, from a Futurist)

In late October this year, the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre released their Final Report. The full report has quite a few sections including an overview of digital assets, reform optiojns for regulation of digital assets, de-banking and more.

Whilst it had various recommendations, one of the key ones was that the Australian Government should recognise DAOs (decentralised autonomous organisations) as legal entities. The report recommends things like recognising DAOs as LLCs (limited liability company) and more.

Futurist and DeFi advocate, David Gikandi wrote about this in a LinkedIn article where he highlights that, whilst providing sound logic to their arguments, the report has flaws that could halt progress and requires both government and DAO operators to think about.

In his opinion piece, David shows examples of UniSwaps growth as a DAO and that the essence of "community-led growth, development and self-sustainability" should be maintained in legislation and to not measure the DAO as a traditional company structure. Given that there are crowdsourced systems of voting, working groups and other structures within a DAO to provide contributors the ability to earn their fair share, it arguably differs from the traditional model of a company.

He highlights the various types of DAOs and how they can interact with each other in a variety of ways that could get in the way of legislation as well as showcasing this image on how DAOs operate vs LLCs.

The rest of the article is on thought experiments on each of the Final Reports recommendations

Finally, he highlights his DAO raison d'etre and looking at this, we can see that the DAO structure makes sense when we think about the very nature of cross-border, complex business transactions that occur more now than in the past. This is far more apparent in the current environment we're in where remote working is the norm thanks to Covid-19. Here it makes more sense to form DAOs to manage and thrive in this space than it does to keep more rigid business structures that were created at a time when markets had more traditional geographical boundaries.

Recent updates

More recently (7th December 2021)(, the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg announced that there would be consultation to look at a legal framework for DAOs (see AFR article). It is part of a large scale regulation change being looked at for the national payments system which includes how to tax cryptocurrencies and Buy Now Pay Later services.


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