Australian Regulator Hints at Increased Crypto Exchange and ICO Scrutiny

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Australian regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has revealed plans to increase scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in its ‘Corporate Plan’ published this week.

ASIC, which acts as a supervisory organ for financial market operators, highlighted the exchange sector as an area of priority through 2022.

Specifically, the body plans to ensure any “threats of harm” from the nascent industry are mitigated as part of its regulatory remit.

“Potential harms from technology driven by the growing digital environment and structural changes in financial services and markets,” it announced in the Plan, continuing:

“We will continue to focus on monitoring threats of harm from emerging products (e.g. ICOs and crypto currencies), cyber resilience, the adequate management of technological solutions by firms and markets, and misconduct that is facilitated by or through digital and/or cyber-based mechanisms.”

In the near term meanwhile, ASIC wants to closely eye ICOs in particular, again with the aim of ensuring compliant behavior.

“Monitoring emerging products, such as ICOs, and intervening where there is poor behaviour and potential harm to consumers and investors,” the report outlines describing one of its 2018-19 “projects.”

A second area of focus for the coming year, ASIC adds, will be “developing our approach for applying the principles for regulating market infrastructure providers to crypto exchanges.”

The release comes the same week as Australia saw its first crypto exchange to raise funds via an ICO respond to multiple enquiries from fellow securities regulator the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) over its own plans.

Amid a regulatory environment that has often attracted controversy, Byte Power Group – the company planning to launch a crypto exchange – insisted it met the various requirements to proceed with its token sale, having sought ongoing legal advice.

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