In a joint research project by Accenture and the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), 2017 saw $3.9 billion worth of cryptocurrency traded across seven Australian digital currency exchanges (altogether representing two-thirds of the virtual currency market).
December 2017 alone made up 59 per cent of the total value of trading activity over the entire year, equating to nearly half (48 per cent) of the 2.7 million in total transactions, according to a statement by Accenture.
Bitcoin was by far the most popular choice of cryptocurrency, making up for $1.86 billion in volume, followed by Ethereum at $712 million, with the average trade value at $1,430.
The seven exchanges had a total number of 312,633 unique customers by the end of the year, 83 per cent of which were male and 71 per cent of which were under 40 years old.
The growing popularity of cryptocurrency trading also gave rise to employment opportunities over the course of the year with the average number of full-time jobs at participating digital currency exchanges nearly quadrupling (390 per cent) from 2.9 staff members in January to 11.3 in December.
Commenting on the research, ADCA chief executive Nicholas Giurietto said the research demonstrated Australians’ enthusiasm for digital currencies.
“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,” he said.
Arjan Bloemer, Accenture blockchain capability leader of Asia Pacific and leader of financial services technology advisory Australia and New Zealand, added that cryptocurrencies were “making waves” globally and in Australia, pointing out the applicability of its supporting infrastructure.
“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,” Mr Bloemer said.
This would “ensur[e] economic growth and consumer protection and support the adoption of progressive approaches to currency control and use,” he concluded.