The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has taken action against cryptocurrency lending firm Helio for making false claims about holding an Australian credit license (ACL). In August 2019, Helio falsely stated that it possessed an ACL, leading ASIC to charge the firm in April 2022. The regulator found that Helio had misrepresented its licensing status in a news article on its website and in an investor update. As a result, Helio has been sentenced to a non-conviction bond and ordered to pay a recognizance of A$15,000 ($9,600) for 12 months, provided it behaves appropriately.
The ASIC’s crackdown on crypto firms has been gaining momentum, with Helio being the latest target. Just two weeks ago, the regulator filed a lawsuit against eToro, a crypto-related trading platform, over concerns that its contract for difference (CFD) product could be detrimental to investors. The ASIC has been particularly concerned about the potential risks and volatility associated with CFDs. It estimated that around 20,000 eToro customers incurred losses while trading CFDs between October 2021 and June 2023. Helio’s guilty plea to ASIC’s charges was taken into consideration during the sentencing.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court emphasized the importance of accurate information in the crypto industry. She stated that entities and individuals should provide truthful details to their customers and potential customers. Helio’s false claims about holding an Australian Credit license misled its customers into believing they had the protections that come with such a license. The ASIC’s actions aim to ensure transparency and protect consumers in the cryptocurrency space.
It is worth noting that Helio offered crypto-backed loans, but it neither held an ACL nor represented an ACL holder, as confirmed by the ASIC. The firm’s conduct violated section 30 of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. By holding Helio accountable for its false license claims, the ASIC sends a strong message to other crypto firms that misrepresentation will not be tolerated.
In conclusion, the ASIC’s sentencing of Helio for falsely claiming to hold an Australian credit license highlights the regulator’s commitment to enforcing transparency and accountability in the crypto industry. The crackdown on crypto firms, including recent actions against eToro, demonstrates the ASIC’s dedication to protecting investors and ensuring the integrity of the market. Entities and individuals operating in the cryptocurrency space should take note and ensure they provide accurate and reliable information to their customers.