Updated

April 11, 2018 14:29:39 Cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Australia will now come under the scrutiny of Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, and be monitored for money-laundering and terrorism funding activities. The new law gives AUSTRAC the powers to police digital currency exchanges (DCEs) trading in a variety of crypto currencies including bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose said the new laws had been generally welcomed by the digital currency exchange sector. “The new laws will strengthen [AUSTRAC’s] intelligence capabilities to help DCEs implement systems and controls that can minimise the risk of criminals using them for money laundering, terrorism financing and cybercrime,” Ms Rose said.

“It’s recognised that this reform will help protect their business operations from money laundering and terrorism financing, while regulation will also help strengthen public and consumer confidence in the sector.” DCEs with a business operation located in Australia must now register with AUSTRAC and meet Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) compliance and reporting obligations before May 14.

There are believed to be fewer than 100 DCEs operating in Australia. So far around 20 have registered with AUSTRAC.

The AML/CTF act requires businesses on AUSTRAC’s register to collect information to establish a customer’s identity, monitor transactional activity and report transactions or activity that is suspicious or involves large amounts of cash over $10,000. “AUSTRAC now has increased opportunities to facilitate the sharing of financial intelligence and information relating to the use of digital currencies, such as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with its industry and government partners,” Ms Rose said. Read more from abc.net.au…

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