Australian regulators open to Bitcoin ETF with ‘rules in place’

Securities regulators’ down under said that they are open to a Bitcoin ETF, so long as investors are protected by the proper rules.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has clarified its position regarding Bitcoin (BTC)-linked exchange-traded funds. 

According to a Feb. 12 report by the Australian Financial Review, the commission addressed the subject after previously rejecting a Bitcoin ETF initiative by local company Cosmos Capital.

Per the report, Cosmos CEO James Manning claimed that ASIC “have a policy — which they have not released — which says they do not want an exchange traded product, an MIS, listed on an exchange.”

However, ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour told the Senate select committee on financial technology Friday that a Bitcoin ETF is possible, so long as there are appropriate rules in place in the market on which it is traded:

“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.”

Armour said that a Bitcoin ETF could fall under Australian Securities Exchange’s AQUA Rules, which are specifically designed for investment schemes like managed funds, ETFs and other products.

Armour noted that the National Stock Exchange of Australia, on which Cosmos attempted to list its product, does not have such rules. 

Australian Securities Exchange CEO Dominic Stevens said that the ASX has taken a cautious approach toward cryptocurrency-related products, but is considering them. “The world of bitcoin has changed since the last run, and my gut feel is this dominated by more corporate activity and institutions,” he said. 

Steve Vallas, head of the Blockchain Association of Australia, told Cointelegraph that the shift in regulators’ attitudes represents a major signal for the crypto adoption in the country:

“The first step towards the adoption […] is open communication and a willingness by Government to discuss the opportunity, implications and risks associated with the listing of products like an ETF. The message being conveyed from ASIC is a very important signal to the sector and is welcome news for all involved in the sector.”

Cosmos Capital is now reportedly planning to list its Bitcoin ETF on ASX, which could potentially become Australia’s first ETF linked to Bitcoin. Cosmos did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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