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Australia

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We have written often about how the US SEC has, to date, refused to authorize a spot Bitcoin exchange traded fund (click here), while other countries such as Canada have done so (click here). Australia’s main market, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), has now given the green light for its first Bitcoin ETF, as reported by the Australian Financial Review. Cosmos Asset Management could launch its bitcoin ETF as early as April 27. Interestingly, however,…

In late March 2022, in the opening hours of Blockchain Week, Minister Jane Hum announced that the Australian Government had released a consultation paper which proposed a new regulatory and licensing regime for ‘crypto asset secondary service providers’ (CASSPrs). This followed a call by Senator Andrew Bragg earlier that day for crypto reforms to be consolidated into a comprehensive legislative package (including a ‘Digital Services Act’). A write-up concerning these proposals may be found here.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has announced a partnership with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Perpetual and ConsenSys Software to explore the use of a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) using distributed ledger technology (DLT). The project is currently limited to the wholesale market, reflecting the RBA’s conclusion in a recent bulletin on the Design Considerations, Rationales and Implications of a Retail CBDC that there is currently no strong public policy case to…

Background The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released an update to Information Sheet 225 Initial coin offerings and crypto-assets (INFO 225). These updates follow the Australian Treasury’s release of its issues paper in January this year, and a subsequent consultation period with stakeholders. Baker McKenzie was involved in the consultation process and delivered a written submission addressing token categorisation, secondary trading in the ICO market, and the current Australian regulatory framework pertaining to…

A new initiative from the Australian Government, the Smart Trade Mark, provides Australian businesses with a  new technology to help protect their products from counterfeiting risks and imitation products in overseas markets. IP Australia (an agency of Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science which administers intellectual property rights) developed the Smart Trade Mark using blockchain and the Australian Trade Mark Register.  IP Australia, alongside start-up Agile Digital, successfully piloted the Smart Trade Mark.  They…

In May of this year, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) indicated that ICO issuers and their associated advisers would come under regulator scrutiny where their conduct or statements were identified as misleading or deceptive.  The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) authorized ASIC to take action against misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to ICOs, even where the ICO does not constitute a “financial product” under Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act 2001.…

It is well known that, among the biggest problems with public blockchains, such as the one behind Bitcoin, are the amount of time it takes to process a transaction and the enormous amount of energy it consumes.  According to blockchain.com, for example, Bitcoin processes only three to seven transactions per second and, in August, had an average confirmation time for a transaction of 10-30 minutes, though that number had been as high as 50 hours…

Australia’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released its 2018-2019 to 2021-2022 corporate plan (the Plan), articulating the regulator’s short and medium term strategic vision and focus. Cryptocurrencies, ICOs and blockchain featured as part of the Plan, reflecting their growing relevance for ASIC in protecting investors and markets. In summary, the Plan: acknowledges the significant impact that blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are likely to have on Australia’s financial services…

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (“CommBank”) (Australia’s largest bank by market capitalisation) has recently confirmed that they have successfully applied blockchain and internet of things technology to a global trade shipment involving 17 tons of almonds. The almonds were shipped from Sunraysia, Australia to Hamburg, Germany. The other companies involved included the Port of Melbourne, Pacific National and Olam Orchards Australia Pty Ltd. CommBank used the Ethereum blockchain for the experiment because of its large…

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (“ASIC”) has released further guidance on initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and cryptocurrency compliance through its updated Information Sheet 225 (“Info 225”). ICOs are a new form of internet based capital-raising using cryptocurrencies to purchase digital coins or tokens known as ‘crypto-assets’. With regulation struggling to keep pace with this growing area of the financial services market, Info 225 gives greater clarity on the legal status of ICOs and crypto-assets in Australia. Info…