Australia’s Financial Regulator Issues Warning to Cryptocurency Investors
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued a warning to cryptocurrency investors describing the risk associated with such investment.
This warning came in view of a report from the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) which revealed that it received more than 1,200 cryptocurrency complaints through its “Scamwatch” portal in 2017.
The number of complaints received from cryptocurrency investors last year had prompted the advisory warning issued to potential investors by the Australia’s financial regulator, ASIC. According to a report, investors had lost about $995,000 USD to cryptocurrency scams.
The ASIC commissioner, John Price reviewed the volatile nature of these virtual currencies, describing it as “pretty speculative products [that] can be very risky.”
“It’s been quite well documented that some of these products are scams, so please don’t invest unless you are willing to lose some or all of your money,” Price told reporters.
The regulatory board has stated that from April onwards, cryptocurrency exchange companies operating in Australia must register with AUSTRAC, the Australian financial intelligence agency, and provide information on their clients’ transactions.
Angus Taylor, Australia’s new federal minister for cybersecurity, has welcomed the move, he said;
“We have had a lot of cooperation from cryptocurrency businesses, because they know they have to be legitimate, they know they have to be part of our financial system and they know they do not want to provide means for illegal and criminal activities to occur”.
Such activities are the major reason that have prompted the legislative reform to take strong action against the cryptocurrency trade.
Brad Brown, an AUSTRAC’s agent noted the looming threat of cryptocurrencies being used for financing organized crimes and terrorism. He said;
“There is a definite risk of cryptocurrencies being misused for money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crimes within the Australian environment.”
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