The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), both of which are government regulatory bodies, have signed the Information Sharing Co-operation Agreement, pledging to promote “innovation in financial services in their respective markets” through the sharing of information. In the past couple years, blockchain technology has ranked prominently among the forces driving innovation in financial services.
At the signing, ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said, “Co-operation between regulators is essential to realise the benefits of the technological revolution. Understanding new developments and their impact in overseas markets helps us to remain proactive and forward-looking in our domestic approach.” Shiyu Liu, his counterpart at the CSRC, expressed hopes that the Agreement would help the financial market regulators meet new “challenges posed by market innovations.”
A press release recounting the signing, linked above, describes China as “Australia's largest two-way trading partner in goods and services” and its “largest export market.”
The information that the two Commissions plan to share may include “emerging market trends and developments,” “regulatory developments pertaining to innovation in financial services,” and advances in “regulatory technology,” though it will not necessarily be limited to those areas.
In 2017, China issued relatively extensive guidance on the generation and sale of cryptocurrency, including a ban on token offering-based fundraising from the People’s Bank of China and a mandate from other regulatory authorities that the nation’s cryptocurrency exchanges cease trading.
By and large, Australia’s forays into cryptocurrency regulation have been less stringent. A bill introduced to the Australian legislature in September 2017 would rescind a double tax on digital currencies, retroactively effective from July 1 of the same year. Another proposed bill would require digital currency exchanges operating in the country to register themselves with a “Digital Currency Exchange Register.”
In 2015, the ASIC launched an Innovation Hub in order to “help fintechs navigate the regulatory framework without compromising investor and financial consumer trust and confidence” and provide “the opportunity for entrepreneurs to understand how regulation might impact on them.”
Previously, the regulatory body had established information-sharing agreements with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, Ontario Securities Commission, Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Japan Financial Services Agency, Malaysia Securities Commission, Abu Dhabi Financial Services Regulatory Authority, and the Financial Market Supervisory Authority, Switzerland, as well as the Capital Markets Authority in Kenya and Otoritas Jasa Keuangan in Indonesia.
The Agreement between the CSRC and the ASIC comes at a time of growing collaboration and information sharing in the blockchain space. In an August 30, 2017, white paper, the Blockchain IP Foundation announced the formation of the Blockchain Patent Sharing Alliance, the leadership of which includes former chairman of United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission Dr. James E Newsome, former Nasdaq chairman John F Wallace, and foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Tso-Ping Ma.