ICOs are allowed in Australia but if an ICO or cryptocurrency falls under the Corporations Act, additional disclosures are triggered. For instance, an ICO might trigger a disclosure requirement if the ICO is a managed investment scheme. A few other possible triggers of the Corporations Act include, for instance, if the ICO is being offered as a share of a company, as a directive, or as a non-cash payment.
The People’s Bank of China banned all ICO activities in 2017 and ordered cryptocurrency exchanges to shut down. According to several reports released earlier this year, China is preparing a set of regulations to take effect in 2018 that would allow ICO activity to resume.
ICOs are allowed in Hong Kong. Regulators have said that certain tokens might be securities and will be treated as such.
Last year, the Financial Services Authority said that, depending on the structure used, ICOs may fall under regulation including by the Payment Services Act and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. The authority is reportedly considering ICO regulations. Japan introduced cryptocurrency regulations last year, recognising them as a legal method of payment. The law requires that cryptocurrency exchanges hold a special license to operate.
ICOs are allowed in the Philippines but regulators have said that some tokens might be considered as securities and thus must comply with securities registration regulations. The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission is currently crafting rules to regulate cryptocurrency transactions.
ICOs are allowed in Singapore. Last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released guidelines regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The guidance dictated that cryptocurrencies that are ‘capital market products’ under the Securities and Futures Act can be regulated by the MAS. This includes cryptocurrencies that either infer an ownership interest in a corporation or product, debt, or a share in an investment scheme.
Following China’s lead, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission announced in September 2017 the prohibition of ICOs, but recent reports suggest that the ban could be eased in the coming months. Thailand
ICOs are allowed in Thailand but are unregulated. The central bank is preparing a framework for regulation.
In the EU, ICOs are allowed, given they are in adherence to AML/KYC policies and other required business regulations and licenses.
ICOs are allowed in the UK. The UK Financial Conduct Authority has issued warnings to investors stating that ICO projects are still experimental and therefore pose risks to investors. It has said that securities law and other areas of financial or banking law may apply to the issuance of a token depending on the different aspects and rights the token holder obtains through holding it.
ICOs are allowed in the US but regulations vary widely from state to state. On the federal level, ICOs should be registered and licensed as if they were not ICOs. This includes registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission if the ICO is to sell or trade securities. ICO organisers are also expected to adhere to AML/KYC practices.