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ASIC's Crypto Crackdown Intensifies: Appeals Federal Court Verdict

ASIC's Crypto Crackdown Intensifies: Appeals Federal Court Verdict

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has escalated its efforts in regulating crypto-related activities by appealing a significant Federal Court decision.
This move underscores the regulator's robust stance against crypto products circumventing financial regulations.

In a bold step, ASIC has contested the recent Federal Court ruling by Justice John Jackman, which found digital currency exchange Block Earner guilty of offering unlicensed financial services through its crypto-based Earner product. Despite acknowledging Block Earner's honest and non-negligent conduct, ASIC remains dissatisfied with the outcome.

According to ASIC, the Federal Court judge erred by suggesting that Block Earner depended on legal advice and also profited from its violations. The appeal highlights that regulatory ambiguity should not shield a company knowingly engaging in questionable activities for financial gain.

ASIC aims to overturn the initial judgment and seeks a penalty of $350,000, in addition to the costs incurred during the appeal process. This initiative is emphatic about ensuring stringent regulatory compliance in the financial services sector, particularly concerning burgeoning crypto products.

Notably, Block Earner operates under Web3 Ventures Pty Ltd, an AUSTRAC-registered currency exchange. However, it lacks an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL), a critical regulatory component according to ASIC.

On February 9, 2024, the court concluded that between March and November 2022, Block Earner had been providing unlicensed financial services and running an unregistered managed investment scheme through its fixed-yield product, Earner.

Conversely, the court dismissed ASIC's claims that Block Earner's variable yield crypto-assets offering, known as the Access product, required a financial services license and should be registered as a managed investment scheme.

This rigorous stance by ASIC comes at a time when crypto products are under intense scrutiny worldwide. The appeal underscores ASIC’s commitment to bringing clarity and compliance to the financial services space, leaving no room for regulatory evasion.

Published:Wednesday, 19th Jun 2024
Source: Paige Estritori

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