ASIC warns of Bitcoin ETF risks as ASX listing sees cautious optimism



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Australia’s securities regulator has issued a cautionary statement to investors ahead of the launch of Bitcoin ETFs on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

A spokesperson from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has warned of the risks involved with cryptocurrencies as the Australian Stock Exchange gave the green light to the country’s first spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), according to a local report.

“ASIC has repeatedly warned investors that crypto is risky, inherently volatile and complex.”

ASIC spokesperson.

According to the official, investors should only risk funds they are “prepared to lose.” ASIC’s cautionary stance comes as it continues to crack down on multiple crypto companies for offering unregistered securities.

The recent statement follows the ASX’s greenlighting of its first Bitcoin-linked exchange-traded product. Amidst this backdrop, industry observers have showcased mixed views regarding the launch, with market analyst Megan Stals noting there’s a “lot of uncertainty” around cryptocurrencies. 

Stals anticipates the demand to be a “slow burn, rather than a tidal wave” as Australian investors already had access to Bitcoin ETFs via foreign exchanges for months.

Morgan Financial advisor Simon Barnett also advised caution, underlining Bitcoin’s inherent volatility, adding that such levels are “unlike anything seen on a regulated exchange.” Barnett also urged inventors willing to gain exposure to the flagship cryptocurrency to seek professional advice from someone well-acquainted with the crypto sector.

However, according to Sharon Goodwin, a senior adviser with 123 Financial Group, seeking advice on such matters could be challenging in Australia. She asserted that cryptocurrencies aren’t included on the list of approved products, and her firm forbids such discussions with clients.

“My statement of advice will acknowledge that they have it, but there will be a comment that we are not giving advice.”

Sharon Goodwin

Goodwin also mentioned that only a small portion of her clients have enquired about crypto-focused products. While some clients do bring up the topic, it’s generally considered “play money,” she added. However, the 124 Financial advisor expects cryptocurrencies to be included in the approved products list “when it’s proved itself a little.”

Despite the general lack of excitement, some market players have portrayed a more optimistic stance regarding listing. ETF issuer Betashares and Digital X, a digital asset investment firm, have both confirmed their plans to list Bitcoin ETFs.

Lisa Wade, CEO of Digital X, noted that the company is “very far down the track” regarding its listing as the firm is already collaborating with ASX to get its Bitcoin ETF approved.

Wade also hinted at a potential ASX-listed Ethereum ETF, which tracks the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency. Discussions around ETH ETFs have been buzzing since the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved proposed rule changes to list spot ETH ETFs last month.

Australia approved its first spot Bitcoin ETF on Jun. 3. The Monochrome Asset Management’s ETF became the first-ever investment product that directly held Bitcoin.



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