New ASIC Chairman Says Crypto Trading is “a Significant Area of Concern”

July 31, 2021, 10:00 AM AEST - 1 month ago

Joe Longo, the new chairman of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), says that certain “economic threats” like unregulated crypto trading are a concern for the corporate regulator in the wake of Covid-19.

In a July 29 ABC interview, Longo emphasised his particular concern over unregulated crypto trading and the companies that provide them, as crypto scams have been on the rise recently not only in Australia but worldwide.

We are particularly focused on scams and vulnerable consumers who are at risk during the pandemic […] It’s clearly the case that we’re seeing a number of scams emerging online with cryptocurrencies being traded on various platforms.

Joe Longo, ASIC chairman
New ASIC chairman Joe Longo. Source: youngwitness.com.au

Longo warned consumers about trading cryptocurrencies as the practice is not regulated nor covered by the Corporations Act. “I think consumers need to be really careful in trading and crypto and knowing what the risks are,” he said.

ASIC Moves to Boost Consumer Protection in Crypto Trading

While crypto trading isn’t regulated in Australia, ASIC has been taking steps to boost consumer protection around CFD (contracts for difference) crypto trading, following the Financial Conduct Authority’s order for crypto exchanges such as Binance to halt regulated services in the UK.

ASIC recently published a report laying out guidelines about the inclusion of crypto assets in ETPs (exchange traded products). As per page 46 of the report, the institution is seeking feedback from stakeholders and investors on how to make crypto assets available to retail investors through licensed Australian markets, and to protect consumers and promote market integrity.

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