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Australia’s securities regulator expresses support for the crypto industry and blockchain technology

ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour recently spoke about her office’s stance on crypto during the Australian Blockchain Week event held on April 22.

Sydney, Australia / Image by: Wikimedia Commons

Thu, 22 Apr 2021, 07:25 am UTC

Unlike other countries that have either banned or are planning to ban crypto within their jurisdiction, Australia is a lot friendlier towards crypto assets. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) recently expressed its support for the country’s crypto industry despite receiving a number of reports on crypto scams.

ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour recently spoke about her office’s stance on crypto during the Australian Blockchain Week event held on April 22. Speaking as part of a panel, Armour explained that the commission’s objectives include working to “maintain, facilitate and improve the performance of [Australia’s] financial system and the firms that operate within it,” and to make sure that “all investors and consumers have the confidence the participate in the system,” Cointelegraph reported.

Armour also expressed interest in the potential of crypto and blockchain technology. “When we’re talking about new innovations like [DLT], or new products like various crypto asset products, from our perspective at ASIC, we are really interested in how those products can be utilized to improve how our financial system operates,” she added.

She pointed out the Australian Securities Exchange’s decision to replace its existing CHESS clearing system with a blockchain-based one as an example of how the technology could be utilized in the financial industry. “We are spending a lot of time looking at the ASX’s proposal to change its clearing and settlements system,” Armour noted.

However, Armour also noted that ASIC has been receiving a high volume of crypto-scams complaints lately. She urged players in Australia’s crypto industry to watch out for and report scam activities and poor practices so the regulator can immediately take action.

“As part of our job in dealing with consumer issues and investor issues, we receive a lot of complaints when things aren’t going right,” she said. “We know that this is probably a concern as much to all of you who participate in the industry as it is to us.”

ASIC issued a notice last month warning users that dating apps and sites have been increasingly used in crypto scams. “Beware of profiles that suggest or pressure you to participate in ‘third party’ crypto investments,” the regulator said. “Most crypto-asset investment opportunities reported to ASIC appear to be outright scams with no actual underlying investment.”

However, some members of the country’s crypto industry have complained that the rules governing the sector remain unclear. For instance, Monochrome Asset Management chief investment officer Kevin Saunders described the industry’s oversight as “too ephemeral for large institutions to engage with it” and sought ASIC to provide greater clarity to the industry’s compliance requirements.

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