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The body responsible for securities oversight in Australia, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has said it regards any regulation of ICOs in the near future as “unlikely”.

Addressing the future of the cryptocurrencies market, the agency said that it considers ICOs as likely to remain outside the scope of their remit, while expressing that this sentiment is likely to be shared across global regulators more broadly.

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have become an increasingly common feature for startups raising capital, as an alternative to more traditional share issues.

While these offerings have some similar characteristics to regulated share offerings, they are distinguished by a lack of equity, according to the agency’s chairman, Greg Medcraft.

“They’re a very interesting concept. An ICO is not equity – you’re offering basically something that is the product of the entity that is doing the launch. You’re taking a bet on getting that product early. How different is that if I go to Kickstarter and I buy something – a watch – and then I get that watch and sell it in the future? It’s no different, is it?”

The news will be welcomed in some quarters, where anxiety persists over government attempts to regulate and control cryptocurrencies.

However, some have expressed concern at the unregulated nature of ICOs, with many feeling the structure of these transactions is more open to market abuse than in traditional equity sales.

According to the chairman, central banks will also be able to issue their own cryptocurrencies to stem the rising tide of unlawful transactions, including those seen in recent ransomware attacks.

Speaking on the future of cryptocurrencies, he sounded a positive note about currencies like bitcoin, and the mechanisms available to central banks to address current perceived flaws in these technologies.

“I tend to think that will be the great motivator of the issuance of digital currencies by central banks, because it does allow you to deal with the abuse of things like bitcoin. The attraction to policy-makers is probably going to be removing the anonymity part, which will be very attractive in terms of dealing with the black economy and money laundering.”