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Asia curbs digital coin offerings, but finds regulation hard

Explosive growth in fundraising raises concerns about investor protection

Octo3's Chief Executive Tyrone Lynch, left, and Chairman Ajmal Samuel (Photo by Joyce Ho)

HONG KONG -- Alarmed at a sudden rise in the volume of investment in digital tokens being offered through initial coin offerings, Asian authorities are scrambling to set out regulatory frameworks for the sector.

The People's Bank of China has declared all ICOs to be illegal, shut down exchanges on which tokens were being traded, and demanded that money raised from sales be returned to investors. Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission said on Sept. 5 that some digital tokens may be defined as securities, which would tighten regulation of issues and trading, following similar action by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

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