The regulator claimed that Bit Trade, the provider of Kraken in Australia, failed to ascertain its target market. They introduced its margin trading product to Australian customers without proper consideration.
ASIC sues Bit Trade, Kraken’s operator in Australia, in a legal move involving the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. This action is due to their failure to adhere to design and distribution regulations concerning one of their trading products.
Furthermore, ASIC, the Australian financial regulator, stated on Sept. 21 that Bit Trade is facing allegations. They are accused of failing to identify its target market before offering its margin trading product to Australian customers.
In Australia, firms offering financial products have both design and distribution obligations. Legal rules oblige firms to design financial products that meet customer needs and execute targeted distribution plans.
We are suing Bit Trade, provider of the Kraken crypto exchange in Australia, for allegedly failing to comply with the design and distribution obligations (DDO) for its margin trading product. Since October 2021, customers have lost about $12.95 million https://t.co/MCRYqah0dP pic.twitter.com/zURQ2xDw7M
— ASIC Media (@asicmedia) September 20, 2023
Moreover, per the regulator, after design and distribution obligations in Oct 2021, 1,160 Australians used Bit Trade’s margin trading product. Unfortunately, these customers collectively suffered a loss of approximately $8.35 million (12.95 million Australian dollars).
ASIC notified Bit Trade in June 2022 of its failure to comply with the obligations. However, it alleges that Bit Trade continued offering the product without fulfilling the necessary determinations.
ASIC’s Surprise Action on Kraken’s Margin Trading
Jonathan Miller, the managing director overseeing Kraken’s operations in Australia, expressed his surprise regarding ASIC’s unexpected move. He believed that the product fully complied with local obligations.
Miller stated that they have been actively seeking productive engagement with ASIC regarding this matter for an extended period. Their primary objective is to ensure continued compliance for their product offering as an AUSTRAC-registered Digital Currency Exchange.
The enforcement action received today has both surprised and disappointed us. We firmly believe that our product is fully compliant with Australian law, and we are committed to seeking further clarification on this matter.
Bit Trade offers a margin trading product known as the “margin extension” service. This service enables customers to receive an extension of credit up to five times the value of their collateral assets.
The financial regulator asserted that the mentioned product qualifies as a “credit facility.” It enables customers to obtain credit specifically for buying and selling certain crypto assets on the Kraken exchange. ASIC’s deputy chair, Sarah Court, emphasizes that the crypto industry should take heed of the proceedings.
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It’s a vital reminder that regulators will rigorously oversee financial products to ensure compliance with consumer protection laws in our nation. ASIC reminds us to uphold design and distribution rules for consumer-focused financial products.