In brief

  • Australian regulators have warned about the potential risks surrounding crypto ETFs in a consultation paper.
  • In Canada, Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs have already broken ground.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has said that crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can present a “real risk of harm to consumers and markets.”

A consultation paper released Wednesday reportedly shows the ASIC allowing crypto funds on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)—with the caveat that the proper protections must be in place first. These products must be developed and regulated carefully in order to maintain market integrity, ASIC said. 

ASIC considers that “crypto-asset ETFs have novel and unique features that require consideration of whether such products can support fair, orderly and transparent markets and comply with our regulatory framework,” the regulator added. 

Australia and crypto

Australia has adopted a fairly libertarian line on crypto in the past. 

In May, Australia’s Financial Services Minister, Jane Hume, said that she would not stand in the way of any Australian seeking to invest in crypto. 

“I would like to make something clear: cryptocurrency is not a fad. It is an asset class that will grow in importance,” Hume said at a Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers Association conference. 

“If you want to invest in Dogecoin, I won’t stand in your way. Personal opportunity and personal responsibility are two sides of the same coin,” she added. 

While Australia appears to have somewhat of an appetite for crypto, it is still playing catch-up. In Canada, crypto ETFs have been established for months. 

The Bitcoin ETF in North America

Canada has already embraced the crypto ETF industry. 

By April of this year, Canada had eight crypto ETFs, four dedicated to Ethereum, and four more dedicated to Bitcoin

Further south, the United States is still wrestling with the prospect of a Bitcoin ETF. Although a number of firms including Ark Invest, Kryptoin and VanEck have filed applications with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC has yet to approve any Bitcoin ETF application. 

Despite the SEC’s reluctance, some high profile Bitcoiners like Anthony Scaramucci, whose own SkyBridge Capital has a Bitcoin ETF application in play, maintain that the US will accept its first crypto ETF in the not too distant future.