ASIC Gives An Australia Fintech Firm the Go-ahead to Launch Bitcoin Fund
On January 20, 2020, an Australia financial regulator announced that it had given its approval to fintech startup Raiz to offer its Bitcoin investment retail fund.
The news marks a defining moment for the Australian cryptocurrency space with regulators previously keen on strict oversight of the industry.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has approved for Raiz to offer its Bitcoin investment retail fund, and the fintech firm can now go ahead with its planned launch of the product before the end of Q2 2020.
Once launched, the Raiz Bitcoin investment retail fund will see 95% of customers’ investments placed in ETFs. The remaining 5% will be directly invested in Bitcoin.
The ASIC approval also opens Bitcoin investment opportunity to the over 300,000 customers already on the Raiz platform, which has more than $445 million in funds under management.
Australia Opening Up To Crypto Investments?
The ASIC Commission has, over time, viewed crypto with suspicion. Last year, the financial regulator reportedly ramped up scrutiny on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and trading of crypto assets, declaring some of the activity to be in breach of corporate laws.
Earlier in 2017, the Australian government began taxing crypto assets by giving it a legal status and made it clear that all blockchain-based digital assets are properties and, as such, are subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).
The ASIC also cautioned crypto traders that it is ramping up scrutiny on suspicious equities trading after an inquiry found possible insider trading ahead of mergers and acquisitions.
Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), is also a critic of Facebook’s Libra, arguing that the proposed digital currency project will find little utility in the country.
The approval of Raiz’ BTC fund now points to a potential shift in the thinking of the ASIC, which until now has mainly concentrated on enforcing laws to stifle crypto growth.
Raiz App Grows In Popularity
Raiz’s popularity is seeing some significant increase in Australia with the platform’s app already downloaded over 1 million times.
The app’s unique selling point is it’s popular ’round-up’ feature, which automatically rounds up every purchase cost to the next dollar, and sends that money directly into investments. Users can also make recurring investments or lump sum contributions.
With the green light from the ASIC, Raiz is now poised to beat the Every Capital to become Australia’s first retail fund for crypto.
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