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ASIC fires industry warning shot as it sues BPS Financial over crypto promo

Australia’s financial regulator has issued a stark warning to Australian crypto asset providers amid launching civil proceedings against Australian firm BPS Financial Pty Ltd (BPS) over “misleading” representations concerning its Qoin crypto token. 

In an Oct. 25 announcement, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said it has commenced civil penalty proceedings against BPS Financial for making “false, misleading or deceptive representations” to its 79,000 users about its crypto token Qoin.

It alleges the company engaged in “unlicensed conduct” relating to Qoin, a digital currency launched in Oct. 2019 which allows participating merchants to accept as payment for goods and services.

ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said this case should serve as a warning to all crypto issuers that ASIC is monitoring the crypto market for misconduct.

“Where it falls within our remit, ASIC will take targeted action against unlicensed conduct and misleading promotion of crypto-asset financial products that could harm consumers – this is a key priority for ASIC.”

She further explained its crucially important that consumers and investors are “provided with honest and accurate information,” because “Crypto-assets are highly volatile, inherently risky, and complex. Every crypto-asset is different, often making it difficult to compare with each other – or anything else.”

Court said they were particularly concerned over BPS Financial’s alleged misrepresentation that the Qoin Facility is regulated in Australia, and the token can be used to purchase goods and services from an increasing number of merchants registered with BPS.

“We believe the more than 79,000 individuals and entities who have been issued with the Qoin Facility may have believed that it was compliant with financial services laws, when ASIC considers it was not.”

 BPS has denied all wrongdoing in an Oct. 25 statement on the Qoin website, saying they disagree with “ASIC’s position” and “will be defending the matter.”

“Before it started, BPS consulted with ASIC in late 2019 regarding the…

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