ASIC looks to stop several retail crypto offerings

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The Commission has stopped outright several ICOs in Australia, and whilst initial coin offerings are not outright banned in Australia, there are growing hoops that they need to jump through before they get the greenlight.

ASIC said there have been recurring problems with ICOs making "misleading or deceptive" statements in sales and marketing material.

ASIC Commissioner John Price said, 'If you raise money from the public, you have important legal obligations.

"It is the legal substance of your offer - not what it is called - that matters".

He said promoters should not simply assume that using an ICO structure allows them to ignore key protections or the investing public and that disclosures about the offer needs to be complete and accurate.

The ASIC stopped the ICO projects due to lack of appropriate investor protection protocols. These ICOs have been put on hold and some will be restructured to comply with the applicable legal requirements, it said. To tighten the stance on the risky investments, the regulator is taking series of actions to stop various Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) from pitching to retail investors in terms of raising capital.

Following ASIC's concerns, Investors Exchange Limited agreed to a final stop order so that no money could be raised.

The press release goes further to list common identifiers of questionable offerings and crypto-asset fund schemes.

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ASIC said IEL had taken a "cooperative approach ... in responding to [its] concerns", suggesting the issues are fixable.

ASIC published guidance on the legal responsibilities of Australians when it comes to conducting, or investing in, ICOs in September.

As the independent government body points out in its now-updated ICO information sheet, anyone with access to the internet can create or invest in an ICO.

In the past, ASIC has warned that many ICO's are not following Australian law and many have turned out to be scams.

One Thing is certain, though, Australia interest rates are still low, making income hard to come by and keeping the focus for many investors on high yielding stocks.

The same month regulators from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and House Financial Services Committee members argued over how ICO should be regulated.

Even the most established of the cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, has been a challenge for investors.

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