Swiss watchdog sharpens scrutiny of initial coin offerings

30 September, 2017, 15:54 | Author: Gary Shelton
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On 28 September 2017, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released Information Sheet 225 which provides its view on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and their application in relation to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

The decision follows other financial regulators around the world that have grown cautious about the rapid development of unregulated digital currencies. This was done in collaboration with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Switzerland's financial watchdog, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, is concerned that some initial coin offerings are violating the country's laws against "terrorist financing".

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Switzerland does not have rules governing conduct specifically for ICOs.

In a warning earlier this month, the FCA said that businesses involved with an ICO must consider whether their activities amount to regulated activities. Bancor Protocol, a Zug-based foundation enabling the creation of other cryptocurrencies, raised over $150 million in June. That said, it's now unclear how, exactly, the country would attempt to regulate crypto. "We think this is another sign of the Swiss regulator's clear and balanced approach to blockchain and Fintech".

While attracting several of the best teams in the industry, Switzerland has also become host to many startups "with less credible backgrounds", said SmartValor Chief Executive Olga Feldmeier, who hosted an ICO Summit in Zurich this month. But it then tumbled after China's ICO ban and plans to halt cryptocurrency trades on domestic exchanges, as well as JPMorgan ( JPM ) CEO Jamie Dimon's prediction that Bitcoin was destined to implode.

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Regulators and traditional banks are increasingly concerned about the risks of fraud and money laundering in the burgeoning online cryptocurrency underworld.

According to Bloomberg, digital currencies like bitcoin and ether experienced a small drop in price following the ban - 5.7 percent for ether and 3.5 percent for bitcoin - but both have already recovered.

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