Australian Court Dismisses ASIC Case, Backs Crypto Firm Finder’s Earn Product

The Australian Federal Court building, symbolizing Finder Wallet's legal triumph over ASIC in a pivotal case for the crypto industry

A Landmark Ruling for the Crypto Industry

In a decisive turn of events, the Australian Federal Court, under the gavel of Justice Markovic, dismissed allegations brought by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) against the cryptocurrency firm Finder Wallet. The case centered around Finder’s Earn product, which ASIC claimed was operating as an unlicensed financial service by offering a debenture without the necessary disclosure document. The court’s judgment affirmed the product’s compliance with existing regulations, marking a significant moment for the crypto industry and regulatory landscape in Australia.

Detailed Examination of ASIC’s Concerns

ASIC’s initial accusation in December 2022 against Finder Wallet raised critical questions about the boundaries of financial regulations and the evolving nature of cryptocurrency products. By alleging that Finder’s Earn product required an Australian financial services license for offering a debenture, ASIC highlighted the regulator’s intensifying focus on crypto offerings and their alignment with traditional financial regulations. This case underscores the ongoing dialogue and tension between innovation in the cryptocurrency sector and regulatory oversight.

Finder Wallet’s Defense and Strategic Response

In response to ASIC’s charges, Finder Wallet mounted a vigorous defense, emphasizing the regulatory misunderstanding of its Earn product’s operations. The firm argued that the product did not fall under traditional financial service categories requiring repayment obligations to customers through deposits. Furthermore, Finder Wallet, as an AUSTRAC-registered Digital Currency Exchange, showcased its proactive stance in engaging with regulatory bodies to navigate the complex regulatory environment, underscoring a commitment to both innovation and consumer protection.

Following the court’s ruling, Finder Wallet’s Global CEO and Co-Founder, Frank Restuccia, expressed satisfaction and relief, highlighting the judgment as a victory for both the company and broader crypto industry’s ability to operate within regulatory frameworks. Despite the positive outcome, Finder has previously decided to discontinue its Earn product in November 2022, attributing the decision to changing market conditions and declining customer interest amid rising interest rates. The company remains cautious about the future of such products but does not rule out potential innovations.


ASIC’s Continued Vigilance on Crypto Offerings

This case is part of a larger trend of ASIC’s increased scrutiny on the crypto industry, aiming to protect investors and ensure the integrity of financial offerings. Recent actions, including cases against fintech companies like Block Earner, highlight ASIC’s commitment to clamping down on unlicensed financial activities and ensuring that crypto offerings comply with existing financial regulations. ASIC’s proactive measures reflect a balancing act between fostering innovation and safeguarding the financial system against emerging risks associated with digital currencies and crypto-assets.

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