The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch program gathered 1,289 complaints from Australians about crypto fraud in 2017, with Australians reporting losses totalling $1,218,206 last year.
The ACCC’s data was reported in ABC’s current affairs program 7.30 on February 19 and cited several new developments on cryptocurrencies regulation set to take effect in the near future.
Cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Australia will be forced to register with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) starting in April. New legislation pushed through in December will require crypto exchanges to implement “anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing” programs, which in practice means that exchanges will need to verify identities of customers and report on the transactions they make.
In comments to 7.30, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) commissioner John Price told Australians looking to invest into cryptocurrency projects, including initial coin offerings (ICOs), that it’s been “quite well documented that some of these products are scams,” and warned against investing “unless you're prepared to lose some or all of your money.”
Cryptocurrency and ICO regulations have been picking up steam in 2018, with financial authorities in countries around the world increasing pressure on the crypto space.
US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Jay Clayton noted in a testimony to the Senate early in February that he expects to treat ICOs like securities. The SEC has already acted to shut down over 70 different allegedly fraudulent operations, including action to stop the $600 mln ICO of AriseBank.
New legal frameworks designed to regulate cryptocurrency have been announced in Switzerland, Gibraltar, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan, among others.