Blockchain Australia ICO Working Group

What’s Happening?

The Australian Government’s the Treasury department has opened, on 31 January 2019, a consultation period for Initial Coin Offerings. In a consultation period the department usually provides a paper outlining the issues or proposed laws, they are seeking to resolve or put in place. The general public are then given the chance to respond to these questions or comment on the proposed laws, usually in terms of how the incoming laws or policies may impact their businesses.

With our hundreds of Blockchain Australia members we want all your voices to be heard. Let’s hear from you, of how you want to see Australia champion ICO policy for Australian businesses.

We are putting together an ICO Working Group in which we will seek responses from all our members collectively and put forward a response of the key issues, on our members behalf.

The Issues Paper sets out the context behind the key proposed consultation questions. If you or your business would like to participate and respond to the questions for comment, you can fill in our form here and we will take it from there. We would need you to fill in your response to us no later then 15 February 2019. This will allow us ample time to review all our responses from our members. Then we will collate and put forward a submission of the key industry issues from Blockchain Australia to the Treasury, before the close of submissions on 28 February 2019.

Consultation Questions

These following are the key questions the Treasury department have put open for discussion in the consultation Issues Paper.

When completing the form, you do not need to answer all questions. You may chose to answer only those of relevance or interest to you. When answering on behalf of your businesses, please provide the impact of the policy on your business and you may even provide examples to us as well. This is so we can have an understanding of what the challenges are for you.

Definitions and Token Categories

1.1. What is the clearest way to define ICOs and different categories of tokens?

Drivers of the ICO Market

2.1. What is the effect and importance of secondary trading in the ICO market?

2.2. What will be the key drivers of the ICO market going forward?

Opportunities and Risks

3.1. How can ICOs contribute to innovation that is socially and economically valuable?

3.2. What do ICOs offer that existing funding mechanisms do not?

3.3. Are there other opportunities for consumers, industry or the economy that ICOs offer?

3.4. How important are ICOs to Australia’s capability to being a global leader in FinTech?

3.5. Are there other risks associated with ICOs that policymakers and regulators should be aware of?

Regulatory Frameworks in Australia

4.1. Is there ICO activity that may be outside the current regulatory framework for financial products and services that should be brought inside?

4.2. Do current regulatory frameworks enable ICOs and the creation of a legitimate ICO market? If not, why and how could the regulatory framework be changed to support the ICO market?

4.3. What, if any, adjustments to the existing regulatory frameworks would better address the risks posed by ICOs?

4.4. What role could a code of conduct play in building confidence in the ICO industry? Should any such code of conduct be subject to regulator approval?

4.5. Are there other measures that could be taken to promote a well-functioning ICO market in Australia?

Tax Treatment of ICOs

5.1. Does the current tax treatment pose any impediments for issuers in undertaking capital raising activities through ICOs? If so, how?

5.2. Is the tax treatment of tokens appropriate for token holders?

5.3. Is there a need for changes to be made to the current tax treatment? If yes, what is the justification for these changes?

Next Steps

To submit your answers to the consultation questions, fill out our form here no later than the 15 February 2019 and we will handle the rest.

We may be in contact with you as a part of our ICO Working Group, if we have further follow up questions for you, that may help to bolster our Blockchain Australia submission.

Not a member, but you would like to be a part of our ICO Working Group? You can join us and hundreds of other members making a difference here.

If you need to reach out to us, you can contact us on our dedicated ICO Working Group email ico@bitcoin.asn.au or on our Official Blockchain Australia Telegram.

CoinTelegraph Blockshow Asia Singapore

Blockshow Asia in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore with (L-R) Sheree Ip (Blockchain Australia), Dr Stephane Savanah (Chief Scientist, Obito.io), and Alex Medana (CEO, FinFabrik).

CoinTelegraph brought Blockshow Asia back to Singapore’s shores last week at Marina Bay Sands, with over 100 international speakers for the event. 

Board Member, Sheree Ip, was invited to host Cointelegraph BlockShow’s panel session “Where the Future Lies: Why Capital Markets Really Need Blockchain?”. On the panel was Dr Stephane Savanah, Chief Scientist at Obito.io, and Alex Medana, CEO of FinFabrik, Founding Board Member of FinTech Association of Hong Kong and Digital Economy Task Force of UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Network. 

The panel session covered many discussions on both the technical and business fronts of using blockchain technology in capital markets, how the technology is key to improving the verification and efficiency in transactions, and how it can be applied across numerous different asset classes. Watch the first day here https://youtu.be/uY10df3rAdY.

The week long event opened with the Blockshow Asia conference over the two days, packed full of evening networking events. The two day conference was followed by “The Future of Token Economy” from SUSS (Singapore University of Social Sciences) event. The week was completed with an open day from all hubs, accelerators, and companies who opened their doors to attendees for panel session discussions in Singapore.

CoinTelegraph Blockshow Americas

Blockchain Australia Board Member, Sheree Ip, with Founder of BTCChina and Board Member of BTC Foundation, Bobby Lee.

Blockshow announced its new international conference in Las Vegas, USA this year, focused on government initiatives, insights on central banks, and the evolution of law and regulations. 

Board Member, Sheree Ip, was invited to speak at CoinTelegraph’s Blockshow America on the panel discussion “Does Blockchain Technology Really Define The Future of Real Estate?”. 

Alongside Mark Mueller-Eberstein (Investor, best-selling author), Ricky Ng (Chairman and Founder of IHT), Piper Moretti, CIPS (CEO of The Crypto Realty Group), and Luca Burlando (COO of Crypto Real Estate AG) the panel discussed whether blockchain defines the future of real estate using token technology, tokenization in the space, buying real estate with crypto, investments, consumer protection and more. Watch the full panel here: https://youtu.be/TE-9643EIdE 

The conference saw an array of speakers from Joanna Maska, CEO of Global Situation Room and former White House Director of Press Advance for President Barack Obama, Mike Butcher, editor at large at TechCrunch, Bobby Lee, Cofounder of BTCChina, Michael Bisping, former UFC Champion, to Dr Nouriel Roubini, Co-founder & former chairman of Roubini Global Economic – whose panel session sparked quiet the heated debate on “The Great Controversy: Blockchain As Seen From Major Institutions Perspective”. Watch the full panel here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF0tJ_WqDhI

Scam Alert: The Complete Guide to Bitcoin Scams

While bitcoin has seen a sudden price rise, unfortunately so has the number of scammers taking advantage of the positive in market conditions. While scammers are not new, in an highly unregulated market they thrive in taking on opportunities of those of us who are less informed, on the state of the players in industry.

We here at Blockchain Australia, feel the need to inform the general public of relevant news and those who are less than honorable people and organisations operating in this space. Which is unfortunate as they have contributed to the bad rap and press in the media of those who are doing great work in this industry. We have started a new segment to highlight reported scams known in this industry. Please check back to make sure you are informed on what is happening in the bitcoin community.

There are many different types of ways scammers can operate in this industry. Freelance writer Suraya Zainudin has put together a useful guide ‘The Complete Guide to Bitcoin Scams‘ that can give you an insight to avoiding possible fraudulent situations. But as always it is important to always be vigilant and do your own research. If something is too good to be true, it is very likely you should pay attention to your instincts, as that is likely to be the case.

Scam Alert: MMM Nigeria and the Low Down on Ponzi Schemes

MMM Nigeria is a multi-marketing Ponzi scheme recently announced that it is enabling Bitcoin as a form of payment. MMM was founded in Russia in the 1990s by Sergei Mavrodi , with the original scheme collapse resulting in participants losing billions of dollars.

However, it has been rebooted recently with a model where participants are committed to sending money to other participants and after a month, they got their ‘investments’ back with 30 percent interest from other participants of the pyramid. Along with their reboot MMM announced the introduction of Bitcoin-based currency, MAVRO-BTC, as one of those payments accepted for the scheme.

What Are Ponzi Schemes?

Ponzi schemes work with the continual recruitment of new members or ‘investors’ who pay a joining fee. That fee is what ponzi schemes use to pay existing investors. The second the recruitment stops, so does the return on ‘investment’. This is why ponzi or pyramid schemes are not viable models nor are they a real investment model, that they claim to be.

Generally these schemes are fraudulent in the way they sign up potential members or ‘investors’ with not being upfront on how their ‘investments’ are simply just a recruiting fee; not informing members that they can and will go bust in the event they run dry and are unable to continue recruiting new members; and pitching their scheme as a legitimate ‘investment’ when it is nothing more than a recruiting fee based model.

The difference between ponzi and pyramid schemes with real investments are their return on ‘investment’ is not based on the legitimate maturity of an asset or gain in a market trade, but based on recruitment fees of new members. Usually these dealings are not made clear to those whom sign up and they end up losing their life savings in a fraudulent investment model. Had they have known clearly up front, they would not have signed up to begin with.

What does Ponzi Schemes Have to do with Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a legitimate digital currency, that itself has nothing to do with ponzi schemes. It has multiple markets where it is legitimately traded among users, which is seen in the daily fluctuations of sales in the market price of bitcoin each second of the day.

However, due to the price rise in Bitcoin, a lot of organisations mask themselves as fake digital currencies that profit from this rise in the market. When in actual fact they are ponzi schemes that are run off newer ‘investors’ buying into the ‘digital currency’. Those newer ‘investors’ who are putting money into the fake digital currency, are simply the ones paying the older or existing ‘investors’ of the fake digital currency.

In reality there is no digital currency that exists, just an organisation shuffling money around to make it appear as if there is a increased market price, for that fake digital currency. The easiest way to spot these fake digital currencies is through no legitimate market offering that digital currency, with the organisation only offering internal websites and information as to the price of the fake digital currency.

For more information on MMM you can read the full article here and for more information on the different types of scams you can find that here.