The chairman of Australia’s Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said crypto “is driven by extraordinary consumer and investor demand,” noting that “the implications for consumers are potentially enormous.” The securities regulator is currently working with lawmakers to develop rules for cryptocurrencies.
Regulator sees ‘extraordinary consumer and investor demand’ for crypto
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Chairman Joe Longo spoke about cryptocurrency on Monday at the Australian Financial Review’s Super & Wealth Summit.
“Consumers should approach crypto investing with great caution,” he said, highlighting his lack of investor protection. However, Longo is of the opinion:
Crypto is on our doorstep, here and now, and is driven by tremendous demand from consumers and investors. The implications for consumers are potentially huge.
While noting that the securities regulator is working with lawmakers to develop rules for cryptocurrencies, he pointed out that many crypto assets are currently unregulated, so investors are on their own when they are. invest in it.
“Right now, a lot of crypto assets are probably not financial products,” he explained. “ASIC has previously provided advice on exchange-traded funds related to crypto assets – these are at least financial products and traded on a licensed exchange, so there will be some protection there.”
Nonetheless, the ASIC chief warned:
For the most part, for now at least, investors are on their own.
Earlier this month, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA or Commbank), the country’s largest bank, announced that it would start allowing certain customers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies directly using of its application. This pilot program is in partnership with the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange.
The CEO of the bank later said that while there are risks involved in participating in crypto, there are greater risks in not participating.
The ASIC President noted:
It is telling that Australia’s largest bank is already offering a means of crypto exposure to its retail clients. Yes, this is only a pilot project, but the general direction is clear. This debate is no longer on the fringes of the financial services industry.
At the same conference on Monday, Victoria Liberal Party Senator Jane Hume also spoke about cryptocurrency. She said we have to recognize that crypto is not a fad, adding that decentralized finance (challenge) presents huge opportunities.
What do you think of the Australian securities regulator’s comments? Let us know in the comments section below.
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