The Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) today released a guidance paper to help issuers of initial coin offerings (ICOs) consider their legal obligations in the country. While warning investors to look out for possible scams, ASIC has taken a much more constructive approach than other regulators such as the US SEC and especially the central bank of China.
ASIC says that it recognises that ICOs have the potential to make an important contribution to the options available to businesses regarding fundraising and investment options.
The commission explains that an ICO must be conducted in a manner that promotes investor trust and confidence, and complies with the relevant laws. Which regulations apply to an ICO will depend on the type of ICO offering and what rights are attached to the coins from the ICO itself, and the underlying coins or tokens used in the ICO.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said today: “We want to ensure innovative firms understand the regulatory framework they may be operating under and ensure they meet any obligations they may have when raising funds in Australia.”
Commissioner Price added the obligatory warning: “ICOs are highly speculative investments, are mostly unregulated and the chance of losing your investment is high. Consumers should understand the risks involved, including the potential for these products to be scams, before investing.”