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Australia

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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…

Thailand has moved closer to being among one of the first jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region (and globally) to facilitate ICOs through targeted regulation. According to a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand (“SEC”), as reported by the Bangkok Post, five ICO projects are to be cleared by the regulator and permitted to move forward with their ICO plans (out of 50 ICO projects that applied for regulatory approval). This comes after…

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has recently published draft anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules (AML/CTF Rules) which are relevant to digital currency exchange service providers following the passage of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act 2017 (Act) in December 2017. The new laws are scheduled to come into effect on 13 June 2018.  Tthe Act introduces new laws to regulate digital currency exchange service providers in the same way…

Australia has introduced new laws to regulate digital currency exchange service providers in the same way as providers of traditional currency exchange services. Businesses providing digital currency exchange services (for example, services converting money into bitcoin and vice versa) will need to be registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and comply with anti-money laundering requirements, following the passage of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017 last month. This follows…