15-025MR ASIC issues stop order on pre-prospectus publications by Bitcoin Group Limited
ASIC has placed a stop order prohibiting Bitcoin Group Limited (a proposed Bitcoin ‘miner’ in Australia) from publishing any statements concerning its intention to make an initial public offering of its shares until the lodgement of a prospectus.
ASIC’s concerns relate to publications posted by the company via a social media application ‘Wechat’ seeking expressions of interest from potential investors to subscribe for shares if there isa proposed listing on the Australian Securities Exchange. The publications were made before Bitcoin Group Limited was registered as an Australian company by ASIC and before the lodgement of a formal disclosure document (e.g. a prospectus). ASIC’s understanding is that the company particularly targeted potential investors from the Chinese community.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, ‘ASIC will often review pre-prospectus advertising or publicity to ensure legal requirements are being met. This is becauseany statements made about a potential offer may influence the investment decisions of consumers who will not have the benefit of all material information that would be included in a prospectus.’
‘ASIC expects companiesto be fully aware of their obligations regarding advertising or publicity that occurs before making a regulated disclosure document available to investors. If they do not observe these requirements, then ASIC will take necessary action so that investment decisions are made in a confident and fully informed environment.’
ASIC has taken the step of issuing a media release given the publicity raised by Bitcoin Group in relation to their intention to list on the ASX. In normal circumstances, the issuing of a stop order is made public on our website and in reference to the fundraising documents lodged with ASIC. On this occasion, no documents have yet been lodged with ASIC so we have issued a media release outlining our concerns and subsequent action.
ASIC’s action relates just to this company rather than Bitcoin generally.