The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) announced last Friday it has placed a stop order barring Bitcoin Group Limited – a prospective Bitcoin mining company – from publishing any statements relating to its intention to make an initial public offering of its shares until a prospectus is lodged.
The commission said its concerns pertain to publications Bitcoin Group posted on social media site WeChat seeking expressions of interest from prospective investors, particularly from the Chinese community, to subscribe for shares if there is a proposed listing on the Australia Securities Exchange. ASIC said Bitcoin Group posted the statements before registering as an Australian company by the commission and before the filing of a prospectus.
“ASIC will often review pre-prospectus advertising or publicity to ensure legal requirements are being met,” said ASIC Commissioner John Price in a press release. “This is because any 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.”
Price added, “ASIC expects companies to 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.”
Reuters reported that Bitcoin Group told the news agency in December that it hoped to raise $20 million AUD ($15.6 million USD) on the Australian Stock Exchange.