e Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has released guidance for Australian registered businesses wishing to raise funds through an initial coin offering (ICO). An ICO, also referred to as an 'initial token offering' is a new form of internet based capital raising whereby a business or individual allows investors to purchase coins or tokens for a set fund raising period using cryptocurrencies. Globally, ICOs are on the rise as a source of funding and are increasingly on regulators' radars. A key questions is whether ICOs are subject to securities regulations and requirements. To date, the legal status of an ICO in Australia has been unclear and this new ASIC guidance explains that it will now be dependent on how a particular ICO is structured, including the rights that attach to the coin or token purchased as part of the ICO. In some instances, an ICO will be governed by the same legislation as an IPO, in others, an ICO may be subject only to the general law including consumer law. ASIC further clarified that where an ICO can be characterised as a traditional investment vehicle such as an offer of shares or derivatives, the issuing business or individual will still need to comply with existing regulatory obligations in Australia, such as preparing a prospectus or obtaining appropriate licensing. ASIC's information sheet on this topic is available here. For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Allgrove, Toby Patten, Grace Loukides, Candice Colman or Rowena Baer.