Inspired by @dash_1971's excellent post on the scene in Japan ..
Macro Australia is a member of the G20 and one of the 5-eyes nations so there is a general trend to increasing (financial) surveillance, and the use of the financial system and payments for exerting control. We're the only nation that has it's own tectonic plate and our country is larger than Europe, and the US (excluding Alaska). We're rich in resources (coal, uranium, iron ore, wheat and wool), and are net exporters of energy and food. We're also at the ass-end of the planet, so there is a cultural thread of innovation because (I suspect historically) we have to look after ourselves without relying on someone/thing that's gotta come from other-side-of-the-planet.
Economy Like a lot of places, highly and increasingly financialised. VCs and Bankers buying up scores of private medical practices, wrapping them in a corporate structure, "streamlining" the back-end administration processes (lolz), and dumping them as listed companies. Rinse and repeat for vets, dentists etc etc. The real-estate is some of the most expensive in the world, and is at this point, un-affordable for young Australians starting their working lives. Caused by generous tax breaks for investors and lots of juicing from the big 4 banks.
We have a birthrate that is at best neutral, and population is only increasing via immigration and increased longevity (like most of the western world). Rental accommodation is expensive and scarce and in combination is increasing stress throughout society. Which brings us to bitcoin :-)
Regulation and tax Treated as property and therefore subject to capital gains tax as land or other assets, with a very important carve-out. Personal use transactions of up to AUD$10k are not subject to capital gains tax, so there is no need to report at all. This has been important because it encourages people to use and try bitcoin, lightning, liquid, fedi and other innovations that come along .. without incurring administrative BS overheads .. and costs.
Buying (and selling) bitcoin We've 4 dedicated bitcoin-only exchanges so are spoilt for choice and have a range of options to safely point noobs to when they start their bitcoin journey:
  • (mobile only)
  • bitaroo
  • hardblock
  • paybtc (non-custodial) Plus the usual access (with limited liquidity) to Robosats, Bisq, Hodlhodl etc.
Bitcoin and altcoins With a strong undercurrent of innovation, there were ICOs and various blockchain projects run out of Australia with the usual results. But increasingly there's an emerging distinction between Bitcoin and Crypto (thankfully).
One of the Aussie bitcoiners has done the work to pull together Australian state housing prices in AUD$ and BTC - now there's an eye-opener for you. If you want to own property, then you're going to need to save for it in bitcoin .. you can check that out here:
Meetups The Meetup scene is running in most state capital cities (Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane at least), and more regional ones are popping up every year (northern rivers, central cost, FNQ etc). This is great to see - local meetups are (imo) the lifeblood of Bitcoin - the base social layer.
As a kind of a super-meetup, there's the Bitcoin BushBash which is a full weekend event in a regional centre. Gotta exhibit some proof-of-work to travel there. Held outside school holidays (so accom & travel is cheap), these are KYC-free, no-registration bitcoin-only events. Speakers volunteer and they have been growing steadily over the last 3 years. We hold those 3 times a year (Murrarundi in the Spring - late Nov, Beechworth in the Autumn - March, and Palm Cove in the Winter - end of July).
And the crowning event is Bitcoin Alive - a full national conference in Sydney in March/April. Inaugural event was 2023 and hugely popular and successful. plebs already keen for '24 and I think tix are now on sale for that in March next year. Fuck yeah!
Summary We're so damn early. Bitcoin-only scene is growing slowly and steadily and that's the way it should be. Lots of marketing work being done by the retards in our central bank and government. Lots of building work being done by developers, miners, educators and organisers. Most meetups have a regular cadence so if you're coming down to Oz, reach out on tg to one of the meetup groups and you're guaranteed to find Aussie plebs keen for a frosty cone and a bitcoin yarn.
Hell yeah! See you at Bitcoin Alive 2024!!
I love these local reports about how Bitcoin penetrate in people's life.
Surprised at that de minimus carve out of 10k AUD. That's much better of Japan which taxes as income (up to 55%) and has zero de minimus carve out.
How is mining out there? You would have thought there may be opportunity for synergy with commodity producers using stranded energy for Bitcoin mining?
How is merchant adoption? Are there cafes and restaurants in the major cities you can use LN for example?
Electricity is really expensive in Australia but there is a strong rooftop solar culture so I wouldn't be surprised if some people have setup rigs that way. I was thinking about doing something similar with an electrician friend of mine.
Personal use transactions of up to AUD$10k are not subject to capital gains tax
Wait.. what? I've never heard about this. Where can I find more info?
The Meetup scene is running in most state capital cities
How do I find these meetups? I'd love to go to one of them.
It's fascinating to see how Bitcoin is steadily carving its niche in Australia's economic landscape. The clear regulatory stance, coupled with the country's innovative spirit, seems to provide a conducive environment for Bitcoin's growth. The emphasis on community-building through meetups and events is particularly commendable. It not only fosters knowledge exchange but also strengthens the base social layer of Bitcoin in the country. As the world continues to embrace digital currencies, Australia's approach serves as an interesting case study for other nations. Thank you for writing it.
Something I'd add is the amazing job done at The School of Bitcoin
I lived in Brisbane for a few years, I remember that there were a couple of MeetUps with big crowds happening at the time.
Also, it was a company (I don't remember the name) that help you to exchange part of your salary for BTC. And in Fourtitude Valley there were many bar/restaurants crypto friendly.
The first BTC ATM that I used was located in Nimbin, if you don't know about this village let me tell you that is a one of the kind...It started as a Hippie Community and many of the local business sells weed, the police knows but but they don't intervene much....That's why the very first Australian ATM was located there I guess....
@btcschellingpnt thanks for sharing. It sounds like there is hope in Australia and things are not as bad as they are painted to be by some.
Sounds like with enough ground work Australia could position itself as a beacon of financial freedom and innovation through Bitcoin.
I see Peter McCormack recently took his show to Australia.