Australia’s cryptocurrency exchanges must now follow new rules aimed to counter money laundering and terrorism financing (AML/CTF). Providing a timely reminder to exchange platforms in the crypto space, Austrac, the country’s financial intelligence agency, has just published a new web page setting out their new obligations as of April 3.

Going forward, exchanges must meet new obligations, which include: registering with the agency, adopting and maintaining an AML/CTF program, identifying and verifying users, and
reporting suspicious behaviour and transactions involving fiat currency of A$10,000 (US$7,700) and over. They must also maintain records for seven years.

While offering exchange services without being registered can now bring criminal charges and penalties, Austrac says in the post: “A ‘policy principles’ period of six months will be in place from 3 April 2018. During that period, the AUSTRAC CEO can only take enforcement action if [a cryptocurrency exchange] fails to take ‘reasonable steps’ to comply.”

And, while exchanges’ registration applications are being considered, a transitional arrangement will allow existing firms to continue providing services, however they must to register by May 14. Aimed to counter illicit uses of cryptocurrencies, the new regulations were first set in law when the Australian Senate approved the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017 in early December 2017.

The bill also gave Austrac oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges. That bill was the second notable piece of legislation to be passed in Australian last year. Read more from…

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