Australia’s ASIC wary of investments in ‘crypto-related products, services’

Regulations across Australia’s cryptocurrency space are still nascent. In fact, right now, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has no plans to release a central bank digital currency (CBDC) for general use.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recently struck a note of caution on the subject too. It advised investors about unlicensed entities that offer financial products. Its official statement read,

“ASIC urges Australians to be wary of investing in crypto-asset-related financial products and services where the provider does not hold an AFS license or an AML.”

As per established regulations, “An entity is required to be licensed by the ASIC if they provide financial services (such as advising or dealing) concerning financial products offered in Australia.” Here, financial products include derivatives such as Options, Futures, leveraged tokens, and binary options.

The aforementioned statement went on to add,

“The sale of binary options to retail clients was recently banned in Australia under an order that will remain in force for 18 months, after which it may be extended or made permanent.”

More and more scams

On its official website, the Australian regulatory board also touched upon an increase in the number of crypto-scams lately. It said, “Reports of misconduct received by ASIC from March to May 2020 are up 20% compared to the same period last year.”

It’s worth noting, however, that the ASIC did acknowledge the efforts that unlicensed crypto-platforms took to prevent Australian clients from accessing the aforementioned financial products.

Features such as geo-blocking, removing references and links, placing additional warnings and disclosures on relevant web pages and apps were some of the steps taken in this direction.

A new chapter

Speaking before the Senate Select Committee on ‘Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre,’ CEO of Blockchain Australia Steve Vallas had attempted to debunk the association of blockchain with the “wild west” He had said,

“…the landscape as we see today is entirely different. We don’t see an appetite within Australia for ICOs, we don’t see the regulators comfortable allowing that to happen again, so we have a new chapter, but the narrative has persisted…When people don’t understand the space, the tendency is to lean in on the wild west, to lean in on nefarious and bad actors.”

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