The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has published new guidelines on cryptocurrency, initial coin offering (ICO) and Mining. The latest issue of regulatory guidance follows that which as first issued on ICOs in 2017, which relied on Australian Corporations Act and consumer law.
The new Guidelines focus on the legal obligations of cryptocurrency firms under the Australia Corporations Act and other laws. Specifically, the Securities watchdog details the necessary steps a crypto-based venture needs to follow to comply with the ASIC and Australian Corporations Acts.
“These regulatory requirements are in place to maintain the integrity of Australia’s financial market and ensure consumer protection,” the regulator said.”
The new guidelines offer a reprieve to crypto assets by defining them as financial products. Consequently, the regulator demands that any firm that intends to issue or deal with cryptocurrencies must seek permission from Australian regulators and acquire licenses. According to ASIC
“Businesses offering crypto-assets, or offering services in relation to crypto assets, need to undertake appropriate inquiries to satisfy themselves they are complying with all relevant Australian laws.”
On ICOs, the regulator is quite clear on the role of issuing entities and their advisors during the issue process. Promoters must ensure that in the course of promoting the ICO, they should never mislead or deceive investors through their statements or conduct. ASIC clearly states that
“Entities and their advisers need to consider all the rights and features of the ICO (regardless of how it is named and marketed) in determining whether the crypto asset is a financial product or involves a financial product.”
The Australian watchdog also emphasised that Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer practices apply to crypto assets.
The new rules also touch on cryptocurrencies miners, especially when they participate in the clearing and settlement process. Specifically, the regulator put it this way:
“Where miners and transaction processors are part of the clearing and settlement (CS) process for tokens that are financial products Australian laws apply.”
Concerning wallet and custody service providers, the regulator requires players to have proper authorisations.