Australian watchdog may step up crypto exchange scrutiny

September 07, 2018
Chris Wheal

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) revealed plans to increase its scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in its ‘Corporate Plan’ published earlier this week.

The regulator, which acts as a supervisory organ for financial market operators, highlighted the exchange sector as an area of priority over the next four years.

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

Priority areas

“Potential harms from technology driven by the growing digital environment and structural changes in financial services and markets,” are singled out in the Plan.

“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,” is among ASIC’s projects for 2018-19.

A further 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.”

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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