New Zealand Financial Markets Authority: cryptocurrencies are securities

New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority advises that not just tokens, but cryptocurrencies, are securities:

All tokens or cryptocurrencies are securities under the FMC Act – even those that are not financial products. A security is any arrangement or facility that has, or is intended to have, the effect of a person making an investment or managing a financial risk.

They note that one of their statutory purposes is “to promote innovation and flexibility in financial markets”. But “the FMA strongly encourages any businesses considering making an offer through an ICO to approach us early during their development phase.”

The key provisions are that providers:

  • must be a member of a dispute resolution scheme
  • must be on the Financial Services Providers Register
  • must comply with fair dealing provisions in the Financial Markets Conduct Act

Coindesk contacted them, and they said that “the agency was seeking to strike the right balance between market oversight and allowing for new kinds of products and services to take shape.”

“Our aim is to encourage responsible innovation, balancing innovation against consumer protection and ensuring the regulatory regime remains relevant and agile.”

The FMA also provides specific advice on cryptocurrency services and cryptocurrencies in general. They strongly advise you to talk to them early:

Given the bespoke nature of cryptocurrency-related financial services, we encourage you to approach us early about the services you plan to offer. We are happy to discuss requirements with you and your legal advisers on an individual basis. Get in touch at:

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