Australian fintech firm investing $20M in BTC

Raiz, an Australian fintech firm best known for its round-up offering, has gotten the approval of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) to add Bitcoin (BTC) to its list of investment services. 

The Australian fintech firm, which intends to launch its Bitcoin retail fund in the first half of this year, has said it would invest 95 percent of clients’ money in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) while the remaining 5 percent will be pumped into bitcoin (BTC).

Raiz emerges as first Australian fintech firm to launch Bitcoin fund

With the approval to add a Bitcoin fund to its list of investment services, Raiz will expose thousands of Australian investors to the world’s flagship cryptocurrency. Reportedly, as of December, Raiz had $445 million in funds under management from 211,000 paying customers. Likewise, the company boasts of 300,000 customers with accounts open on the service.

Although Raiz is yet to release its product disclosure statement several months after its scheduled launch date, it will, however, be the first Australian investment platform to launch a Bitcoin Fund being Australia’s first retail investment fund for cryptos.

ASIC ramped up scrutiny of crypto

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has over time viewed crypto with suspicion.  The corporate regulator reportedly in 2019 ramped up scrutiny of initial coin offerings and trading of crypto assets, declaring some of the activity to be in breach of corporate laws.

Earlier in 2017, the Australian government began taxing cryptos by giving it a legal status and made it clear that all blockchain-based digital assets are properties and, as such, are subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT). The commission also warned brokers and issuers it is increasing scrutiny on suspicious equities trading, after an investigation found potential insider trading ahead of mergers and acquisitions, especially in the materials sector.

Cathie Armour, the ASIC commissioner, also said at a Refinitiv regulatory conference in Sydney that the regulator had seen some offers for crypto-assets “that appear to involve misleading or deceptive conduct, or that are promoted in a way that does not comply with the regulatory framework.

All these indicate that the Australian government is yet to settle well with cryptocurrency and its emerging revolution.

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