New Zealand Law Society - FMA provides commentary on ICOs and cryptocurrency services

FMA provides commentary on ICOs and cryptocurrency services

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The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has published commentary which gives its views on initial coin offers (ICOs) and cryptocurrency services

It says innovation is increasingly shaping financial services and regulators globally are considering their responses.

"The FMA wants to facilitate responsible innovation, and ensure that the regulatory regime remains relevant and agile. This is supported by the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013, as one of its purposes is 'to promote innovation and flexibility in financial markets'," it says.

Initial Coin Offers

These are used by businesses and individuals to raise funds from individuals online. Investors receive digital tokens that have certain rights.

The FMA says its view is that the specific characteristics and economic substance of an ICO determine if it's a financial product - if it is regulated, and if so, how.

"The FMA strong encourages any businesses considering making an offer through an ICO to approach us early during their development phase," it says.

Cryptocurrency services

These are businesses and individuals offering services such as cryptocurrency exchanges, wallets and broking. The FMA says such providers must be a member of a dispute resolution scheme, must be on the Financial Services Providers Register, and must comply with fair dealing provisions in the Financial Markets Conduct Act.