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New ICO guidance from Australia a welcome signpost for regulatory environment
30 September 2017, 03:54 | Ruben Stone
ASIC issues regulatory guidance on ICOs
Ethereum and bitcoin dropped after South Koreabanned domestic initial coin offerings and margin trading in cryptocurrencies.
The Financial Services Commission said all kinds of initial coin offerings (ICO) will be banned as trading of virtual currencies needs to be tightly controlled and monitored.
Chief among the FSC's concerns are that upcoming ICO deals could be scams, which is also a worry of regulatory bodies around the world, and that the ICO market could become overheated.
Further measures against cryptocurrency could also be taken. The details of those penalties were not revealed, however.
China has followed the ICO ban with a country-wide ban of cryptocurrency exchanges; it's unclear whether South Korea plans to do anything similar.
But several regulatory bodies, including those in the U.S., China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Russian Federation, have recently warned that lack of regulations has turned ICOs into a playground for scammers.
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"Given the close resemblance, in some respects, between ICOs/token-generating events and conventional financial-market transactions, one or more aspects of financial market law may already cover ICO campaigns according to their various models", the agency wrote.
ICOs have fueled a rapid ascent in the value of all cryptocurrencies, from about $17 billion at the start of the year to a record high of close to $180 billion at the beginning of September.
The crackdown by South Korean regulators is sure to hit the nation hard, as the Korean won was the No. 3 currency for bitcoin trading over the summer based on market capitalization, after the United States dollar and Japanese yen, the WSJ reports.
"At any sign of vulnerability, the first reaction would be a mass selloff in ether".
FINMA announced on Friday that it was looking into a number of ICOs for breaching "provisions on combating money laundering and terrorist financing" and other regulations. For now, the nation will continue to observe operations to see what other regulations can or should be implemented.
While some token sales will be classified under general Australian consumer law, ICOs offering financial products will be regulated under the country's Corporations Act. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.
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