Law will follow crypto sellers overseas, ASIC warns

Businesses offering initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto-assets need to ensure they’re complying with Australian consumer and corporation laws, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has cautioned that simply selling such products offshore won’t stop the regulator from enforcing business’ domestic obligations.

The regulator yesterday updated Information Sheet 225 (INFO 225) to reflect that ICOs and cryptos often were or involved financial products that were regulated under the Corporations Act, as well as coming under the Australian Consumer Law’s misleading and deceptive conduct provisions.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said that businesses offering crypto-assets or related services needed to undertake appropriate enquiries to ensure that they were complying with Australian law, and that the promotion or sale of such products to Australians offshore didn’t mean that our domestic laws didn’t apply.

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“Issuers of ICOs, crypto-assets and their advisers should not assume the use of these structures means that key consumer protections under Australian laws do not apply or can be ignored,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Federal Treasury also found that many ICOs had turned out to be scams, warning that businesses needed to distinguish themselves from possible scams and carefully consider the information in INFO 225.

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