Australian Watchdog to Apply Market Rules to Crypto Exchanges

Australia's securities regulator has said it plans to apply financial market rules to crypto exchanges and closely scrutinize ICOs.

AccessTimeIconSep 7, 2018 at 9:01 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:21 a.m. UTC

A top Australian financial regulator has indicated it will take a new approach when regulating cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as tighten scrutiny of initial coin offerings (ICOs),.

In its a corporate plan for 2018–2022, released Friday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) outlined its areas of focus for the period. Top of that list is to continue "monitoring threats of harm from emerging products" such as ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

Further, for 2018 and 2019, ASIC said it is developing a new framework that will apply "the principles for regulating market infrastructure providers to crypto exchanges" and will intervene where "there is poor behavior and potential harm to consumers and investors."

According to the ASIC website, its current market infrastructure principals include a licensing scheme, via which it seeks to supervise financial market operators, settlement facilities, derivative trading and market participants.

The planned framework follows cross-department efforts the ASIC has been taking to implement supervisory approaches, such as dispatching staff onsite in financial institutions related to emerging tech including cryptocurrency, ASIC indicated.

Currently, cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia are required to comply with know-your-customer and anti-money laundering standards enforced by Austrac, the country's financial intelligence agency.

ASIC, however, has not issued any pertinent regulation for crypto exchanges, but did published guidelines last year for businesses wishing to conduct ICOs.

The plan appears a timely one, as the country has already seen one public firm seeking to raise capital via a token sale to fund the launch of a cryptocurrency exchange.

As CoinDesk reported this week, an IT firm called Byte Power Group has already started selling its proprietary tokens to private investors in Australia and Singapore in an effort to raise a total of $15 million.

Australian flag image via Shutterstock

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