Australian cryptocurrency ownership warrants consumer protection, says regulator

 SYDNEY The securities watchdog said on Thursday that nearly half of Australian retail investors owned cryptocurrency by late 2021 and got more information from YouTube videos than from financial advisers. 

According to an ASIC survey of 1,053 retail investors conducted last November, 44% reported holding cryptocurrency, making it the second most popular investment after Australian shares. 

A quarter of the cryptocurrency investors polled said it was their only investment.

The data will put additional pressure on Australia’s new Labor government to prioritize consumer protection as it completes a multi-year study begun by the previous conservative government on whether and how to regulate digital assets. 

It also validates widely circulated statistics about high rates of cryptocurrency ownership in Australia, which were dismissed as “implausible” by a top central bank official last year.

According to the survey, 41% of respondents sought investment information from a social media outlet, with 20% citing Alphabet Inc’s Youtube and 11% citing Meta Platforms’ Facebook. 

According to the survey, only 13% gained their information from a financial adviser or broker.

According to ASIC Chair Joe Longo, “we are concerned about the number of people who reported investing in unregulated, volatile crypto assets.”

The protections for crypto-asset investments are limited since they have become mainstream and are widely accepted Promotions and advertisements are heavily promoted. Regulation of crypto-assets is necessary to protect investors.”

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