In the result of the regulator’s requests, some issuers have stopped their token sales or are updating their structures. On Tuesday the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) declared that it is taking measures “on misleading or deceptive conduct in the marketing and selling of digital or virtual tokens via initial coin offerings (ICOs).” ASIC is an independent Australian governmental structure that conducts as the country’s corporate regulator.
ASIC is issuing inquiries to ICO issuers and their advisers where we identify conduct or statements that may be misleading or deceptive. This is in addition to our inquiries where we identify potentially unlicensed conduct. As a result of our inquiries, some issuers have halted their ICOs or have indicated the ICO structure will be modified.
(The Australian Securities and Investments Commission)
ASIC has also refreshed its information sheet on ICOs and cryptocurrency which defines “misleading or deceptive conduct.”
If you are acting with someone else’s money, or selling something to someone, you have obligations. Regardless of the structure of the ICO, there is one law that will always apply: you cannot make misleading or deceptive statements about the product. This is going to be a key focus for us as this sector develops.
The Commission presented 4 examples of what this conduct may entail. “The use of social media to generate the appearance of a greater level of public interest in an ICO” is the 1 on the list, then “undertaking or arranging for a group to engage in trading strategies to generate the appearance of a greater level of buying and selling activity for an ICO or a crypto-asset.” Also, “failing to disclose adequate information about the ICO” and “suggesting that the ICO is a regulated product or the regulator has approved the ICO if that is not the case” are banned as well.