Banking & Finance

Digital Payments & Virtual Assets

Ahead of the curve in finance innovation

As part of our focus on innovation in financial services and the broader digital economy, King & Wood Mallesons is at the forefront of market developments in the Australian payments industry and the fast-moving virtual assets sector.  We strive to stay ahead of the curve for our clients.

Working closely with Australian regulators on law reform and policy has allowed us to not only contribute to the development of the Australian payments and virtual assets industry in the new technology environment, but to acquire unprecedented knowledge and understanding of the law and regulation affecting the industry and its players. This foundational role has seen KWM recognised by governments around the world including the Australian Federal Government which chose KWM experts to lead the inquiry into the Australian Payments System and the National Blockchain Roadmap Steering Committee.

KWM also leads multiple projects globally for industry bodies, governments, policy makers and regulators on digital payments and blockchain infrastructure and building the necessary legal and regulatory enabling frameworks to encourage adoption, innovation and investment.

Relying on our unmatched expertise, deep understanding, up-to-date insights and strong relationships with key regulators, we will guide you through the complex matrix of regulatory, legal and technological challenges associated with digital payments and virtual assets.

Advising key market participants

We have expertise in advising regulators, industry bodies and financial institutions on all aspects of the law relating to both retail and wholesale payment systems, virtual asset platforms and new forms of value. We combine experience in blockchain, smart contracts, data, algorithmic design and financial market infrastructure to ensure the technology being built and products offered meet our clients’ legal, commercial and technological aims.

We have extensive experience acting for banks, financial institutions, card issuers, providers of financial market infrastructure, payment providers, telcos, utilities, insurers, credit reporting agencies, loyalty and other marketing scheme managers, various consumer goods and services companies, government and not for profit organisations on their digital operations and relevant regulatory concerns.

A snapshot of our expertise

  • Creation of payment and clearing systems: including advising on the development of operating rules and effective operation under Australian law (including in the event of the operator’s or participant’s insolvency), and extending to the negotiation of contracts to design, build and operate the technical infrastructure forming part of the payment and virtual asset system.
  • Participants in payment and clearing systems: advising on how to become a member of the system, a participant’s obligations (including on a default) and finality of payments.
  • Wallets, cards and other payment products: working with clients to develop a broad range of payment products such as products allowing merchants to accept payments from customers online, products allowing funds to be withdrawn at an ATM without a card, cards storing value, credit cards and online payment platforms that facilitate payments in connection with superannuation products.
  • Virtual asset issuance: including major cryptocurrencies, as well as new native virtual assets, utility tokens, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), stablecoins, security tokens and tokenised assets.
  • Virtual asset platforms and services providers: including exchanges (centralised and decentralised), brokers, fund managers, custodians and technology developers, including on licensing, compliance, investigations and control frameworks.
  • Central bank digital currencies: including advising on creation, as well as cross-border access and interoperability between jurisdictions.
  • Metaverse development: including creating the legal structure necessary for hybrid online-offline environments, creating guard rails for gamification and data use, as well as integration of various virtual assets.
  • Data-related initiatives: extensive expertise in relation to Australian privacy laws, advising on implications for initiatives involving transaction data, customer data, aggregated data, encryption technologies, APIs and analytics.  These issues often go hand-in-hand with payments and other value transfer mechanisms.

Meet our Team

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