Australian exchanges traded more than $3.9 billion in cryptocurrencies last year, according to new research from Accenture and the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA).

The new research details activity levels, transactional values and trader demographics in the country for the first time based on data from seven Australian digital currency exchanges (DCEs).

Last year the seven participating Australian DCEs processed more than 2.7 million individual transactions from more than 300,000 traders. The vast majority of those were male and under the age of 40.

The most popular currency traded last year was Bitcoin, accounting for AU$1.86 billion in volume, followed by Ethereum at AU$712 million.

These new insights were gathered from confidential organisational and operational data from seven Australian DCEs that represent an estimated 66 per cent of the digital currency market.

Key Figures:

  • The total value of trading activity (transactions buying and selling cryptocurrencies) across the participating DCEs totaled AU$3.9 billion in 2017.
  • The seven participating Australian DCEs processed more than 2.7 million cryptocurrency transactions in 2017.
  • The largest individual transaction by any exchange was worth AU$500,000.
  • The average trade value was AU$1,430.
  • The month of December 2017 alone accounted for 59 per cent of the total value, and 48 per cent of the total number of transactions, of all trading activity recorded by participants for the whole of 2017.
  • The majority of digital currency customers are male and under the age of 40.
  • On average, 40 per cent of DCE customers are aged 18 to 29, 31 percent are aged 30 to 39, 18 per cent are aged 40 to 49, and just 11 per cent are 50 or older.
  • Some 83 per cent of DCE customers are male.

“These results demonstrate that Australians are enthusiastically participating in the market for digital currencies,” said Nicholas Giurietto, CEO & managing director of the ADCA.

“They show that it is more important than ever for the industry, regulators and banks to work together to further improve standards of security and consumer protection. Australians trading in digital currencies should be encouraged to do so using ADCA-certified exchanges based in Australia, where strong consumer safeguards apply.”

In Australia, DCEs will be regulated by AUSTRAC beginning April 3, 2018. This will require mandatory registration and compliance obligations. Several of Australia’s leading digital currency exchanges already comply with the regulations, but this first government regulation is a key step that will lead to greater integration with wider financial services in Australia, including institutional services for asset managers, traders and hedge funds.

“As our research clearly shows, cryptocurrencies are making waves globally and here in Australia,” said Arjan Bloemer, a managing director at Accenture who leads the company’s Financial Services Technology Advisory practice in Australia and New Zealand.

“The technology behind them can change many aspects of our current financial system, and we believe that central banks and financial institutions can play a key role in shaping this landscape by establishing a strong foundation for the use of cryptocurrencies, ensuring economic growth and consumer protection and supporting the adoption of progressive approaches to currency control and use.”

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