Melbourne-based cryptocurrency exchange BTC Markets has become the first crypto company in Australia to gain a financial services license.
The exchange made the announcement today that its sister company, BTCM Payments, has been issued with an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
We have an exciting announcement to make:
BTC Markets is the first Australian crypto exchange to successfully go through the full AFSL application process via our sister company, BTCM Payments!
✅SOC 2 on the way!#crypto #bitcoin #finance
— BTC Markets (@BTCMarkets) June 21, 2022
Why is this news? From the perspective of BTC Markets, one of Australia’s most successful and prominent crypto exchanges, it represents a closer bridging of the gap between the traditional finance sector and crypto, while also helping it to offer new products to its customers.
BTC Markets has been trying to secure this license for more than 18 months – one that’s currently focused on non-cash payment products and general advice, although additional variations can apparently be made to it over time.
“Our preference has always been to own our own AFSL rather than buying an existing one from a license holder,” said the exchange’s CEO Caroline Bowler. “We’re now the masters of our own destiny – we have a clean slate and full control over the AFSL.”
Bowler noted that the license will sit alongside her company’s International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification and will help its progress in obtaining a System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 certification.
She also believes the AFSL will help prepare the exchange for “impending regulation” of the crypto industry in Australia. That said, with the change of government, it’s unclear as yet how impending that regulation is, and how much of the “Bragg Report” – a series of innovation-friendly recommendations compiled last year – will be adopted or tweaked.
BTC Markets’ push for TradFi integration
The licensing news is BTC Markets’ fourth strategic announcement in the past 12 months.
It follows a partnership announcement with Volt Bank in September 2021 – which allows customers to access their banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform; a trading arrangement with online broker SelfWealth in February this year; and a deal with Mastercard in March.
The exchange has also successfully obtained professional indemnity insurance, which, according to BTC Markets, has proved challenging for businesses operating in the crypto market in Australia.
“From an industry perspective,” said Bowler, “we’re seeking to demonstrate how crypto can sit alongside traditional finance to seamlessly work together in a financially inclusive future.”
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