The main Australian financial regulator has just published its 2018 to 2022 corporate plan. In the document, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) states that it will keep a watchful eye on cryptocurrency and will regulate it to minimise harm whilst preserving the innovative potential of the space.

ASIC’s Focus on Harm Reduction Consistent with Previous Stance on Crypto

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which confusingly (at least for us crypto folks) goes by the acronym ASIC, published its 2018 to 2022 corporate plan yesterday. During the report, the financial regulator once again addresses the cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) industry.

ASIC states that it will be carefully observing the cryptocurrency space with particular attention to ICOs and token offerings.

Consistent with their earlier statements on the industry, the focus will remain on harm reduction as opposed to a widespread crackdown. Part of this will involve ensuring that Australian-based ICOs and those offerings targeting the Australian public are all conducted in accordance with existing legislation.

The document states:

“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.”

The corporate plan goes on to state that there will be efforts made at bringing digital asset exchange platforms more in line with other financial services in terms of regulations. It states that the regulator will be “developing [its] approach for applying the principles for regulating market infrastructure providers to crypto exchanges.”

Finally with regards to the crypto and blockchain space, the document published today states that ASIC will be looking closer into the regulatory technology sector. This will involve a close monitoring of the impact that a blockchain-based replacement of the previous CHESS system on regulation.

The reaffirmation of a nurturing yet protectionist policy towards the digital currency space puts Australia alongside the likes of Switzerland in their approach to the financial innovation.

The approach of these more progressive nations provides stark contrast to the draconian legislation coming out of China. Somewhat unsurprisingly, nation states allowing the most freedom to use and invest in cryptocurrency mirrors are generally the same that offer the most individual liberty to their citizens, and vice versa.

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