Digital currency exchanges with operations in Australia have been given a deadline of May 14 2018 to register with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). The government’s financial intelligence agency has been given the responsibility of regulating those exchanges using new cryptocurrency laws that will ensure that exchanges are subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.
That law is designed to protect against money laundering, cybercrime, and terrorist funding. It requires regulated financial entities to properly identify their customers, monitor account activities, and alert AUSTRAC when they identify suspicious transactions. It also requires those financial institutions to notify the agency about transactions involving amounts in excess of $10,000.
According to AUSTRAC chief executive Nicole Rose, the decision to provide agency oversight for the country’s digital exchanges will help to strengthen AML and counter-terror laws.
“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. The information that these businesses will collect and report to AUSTRAC will have immediate benefit in the fight against serious crime and terrorism financing.”
Rose also suggested that this move was in the digital currency industry’s best interests too:
"It's recognized 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.”