The corporate regulator has detailed the work it is doing to understand the cryptocurrency market, which has been hampered by a lack of reliable information and the global nature of the crypto value chain.
In a series of questions from labor party MP Steve Georganas at a recent parliamentary joint committee hearing which were taken on notice, the regulator was asked if it had completed a local crypto market review and what the outcomes were.
ASIC’s response, posted to the government website Friday afternoon, confirmed it was set to “review the status of local crypto market activity” as part of its latest Corporate Plan.
“This action refers to an ongoing area of work to assist ASIC to identify and monitor the nature, size, and scale of the crypto-asset market activity in Australia, as relevant to ASIC’s regulatory remit,” the regulator stated.
That ongoing work is proving problematic, however
“It is difficult to get a sense of the true nature and scale of the Australian crypto-asset market activity with existing available information,” ASIC stated. “To get a sense of what exposure Australians have to crypto-assets we would require direct information from entities that are generally based overseas and outside of ASIC’s jurisdiction, which is resource-intensive to obtain.”
With a narrowed budget and heightened scrutiny around ASIC’s spending, it follows that the regulator would find intensive global research into crypto less palatable.
On a local front, ASIC said, it’s leaning on public information from “consumer survey results” to provide an indication of how Australian consumers are engaging with crypto providers.
“The crypto space is a big space, and it’s generally unregulated by ASIC,” said chair Joe Longo at the initial hearing. “I think there’s quite a bit of policy work ahead of us to get a grip on this space.”
During the hearing commissioner Danielle Press noted that some crypto exchanges were registered through AUSTRAC, and ASIC was focused on crypto-assets that did actually qualify as a financial product – in particular exchange traded products that are based on crypto-assets.
“We are interested in setting up some better practices in relation to expectations on market operators where they quote funds which are referenced back to crypto-assets,” Press said.