Bitcoin ETFs Under Active Consideration, Says ASIC Commissioner

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ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour on Friday said the Australian Securities and Investment Commission is open to facilitating the listing of crypto versions of exchange-traded funds.

Armour has seemingly sought to change the ASIC’s reputation for being stuck in the mud when it comes to Bitcoin-linked products. Specifically, his comments came shortly after the National Stock Exchange rejected the listing of Cosmos Bitcoin ETF, citing they did not have appropriate regulations to protect the investors.

“For any products to be quoted on exchange markets in Australia, the particular market needs to have in place rules that facilitate the quoting of products […] Not all markets have rules in place that do that. […] These products can be made available to Australians through a managed investment scheme regime and Australians can invest in these products in that way,” said the corporate regulator chair.

Armour added that although an ETF would give investors a cheap and easy way to get exposure to crypto assets, there must be appropriate rules in place to protect them.

Australia crypto industry has been attempting to launch a bitcoin ETF for years, and and Cosmos was the last to have its proposal rejected. But now, with bitcoin’s surge to new highs – driven in part by increased adoption from institutions – the chance of approval could be higher than ever.

Australia Has Been Progressive in Crypto Regulation

Still, there are hurdles for an Aussie bitcoin ETF approval as it seeks acceptance from ASIC, and it’s likely to hinge on Cosmos’ success to list on ASX Exchange, which has never approved any similar products.

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“ASIC has a policy – which they have not released – which says they do not want an exchange-traded product, an MIS, listed on an exchange,” said James Manning, one of the founders of Cosmos Capital.

ASX CEO Dominic Stevens told The Australian Financial Review this week that “The world of bitcoin has changed since the last run, and my gut feel is this dominated by more corporate activity and institutions.”

Australia was a pioneer in crypto regulation when it declared in 2018 that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies that shared its characteristics were legal and are treated as property.

The boom in crypto activity has also prompted the Australian tax office to ask the nation’s cryptocurrency users to report their operations in order to verify tax compliance.

Thousands of Australian taxpayers across the country have already received instructions on how to accurately report their cryptocurrency-related income and amend their tax returns, if necessary.