ICO News: “With revolution comes risk”, says Australian ASIC

At a fintech event in Sydney, Australian Securities and Investments (ASIC) Commissioner John Price delivered a speech highlighting the financial regulator’s updated guidelines and regulations for ICO and cryptocurrencies.

ICO News: “With revolution comes risk”, says Australian ASIC

He said: “The development of innovative technologies like blockchain and ICOs has the potential to revolutionize how our society engages with financial products and services, but with revolution comes risk… Scams are corrosive when it comes to building any form of trust, and we all have a role to play in making sure they don’t happen.”

Price drove home the fact that the protection of the Australian consumer was the most important thing when drawing up the new rules and guidelines. Indeed, he said that the regulator strived, when drawing up the new regulations, to protect Australians even from ICOs which operate overseas.

Australia’s 2001 Corporation Act

Last year, the ASIC released an information sheet providing guidance for any entity considering an ICO, potentially bringing them under Australia’s 2001 Corporations Act, depending on the type of token being offered.

ICOs can be considered ‘managed investment schemes’, shares or derivatives offerings, or ‘non-cash payment facilities’, and Price also emphasized yesterday their “basic obligation not to mislead or deceive through any offers or marketing.”

Price said that it was in the crypto industry’s “interests to build a more mature sector that can sustain longer term public confidence,” adding that ASIC is currently collaborating with other domestic and international regulators to clarify a framework for cryptocurrencies “across taxation, anti-money laundering, payment systems and financial services.”

Finding the ‘right regulatory environment’

ASIC, as per Price, maintains an “open mind when it comes to new technologies and ‘early-days’ business models,” deeming that the “right regulatory environment” will allow fintech innovation to “flourish.”

Around the globe in Europe, Asia, and the US, there’s been widespread regulatory momentum relating to the crypto sphere. ICOs are coming under particular scrutiny, as well as the need to leverage Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) measures and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) compliance across the industry.

The uncertain impact of the advent of regulation is already having an effect on incoming capital, yet some investors believe regulatory clarity will prove positive in the long haul.

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