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ASIC releases guide on initial coin offerings

30 September 2017

The Financial Services Commission said all kinds of initial coin offerings (ICOs) will be banned in South Korea as trading in virtual currencies needs to be tightly controlled and monitored.

South Korea has taken a page out of China's book with a heavy-handed approach to cryptocurrencies, banning all upcoming ICOs from taking place and pointing to a need for tight controls and monitoring. Violators of the new ban will receive "stern penalties", but no details of what those penalties will be have been provided.

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Chief among the FSC's concerns are that upcoming ICO deals could be scams, which is also a worry of regulatory bodies around the world, and that the ICO market could become overheated. Authorities in Singapore and Canada have issued similar warnings. Few western countries were likely to follow the lead of China alone, but the Korean decision could lead other Asian countries to look seriously at regulating cryptocurrencies more strictly; Japan is reportedly working on its own overhaul of cryptocurrency regulations, and it could decide to follow China and South Korea's lead.

"ICOs are highly speculative investments, are mostly unregulated and the chance of losing your investment is high", Mr Price said.

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He said that he doesn't expect violence, because "it's not in the Catalan DNA to use violence to solve political problems".

At the time of writing Ethereum has fallen -4.3 percent, now trading below $300, with Bitcoin managing to stabilize above $4000 on the news. "That's why the price of ether is susceptible".

Prosecutors in South Korea have recently caught four would be cryptocurrency traders who illegally raised 25 billion won (US$22mil) from 1,000 investors in a pyramid scheme growing in scale, the South Korea commission said. For now, the nation will continue to observe operations to see what other regulations can or should be implemented.

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But the streaming video giant spun off the project in 2007 over fears it would constrain Netflix's growth on other video boxes. Roku is also the latest tech company to go public in what's been a largely lackluster year for tech initial public offerings.

"FINMA clearly states in its guidance that it supports the innovative potential of blockchain technology, but also that, depending on the structure, regulation can and should apply", Bussmann said.

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets.

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ASIC releases guide on initial coin offerings