New laws for digital currency exchange (DCE) providers operating in Australia have just been implemented by AUSTRAC, Australia’s financial intelligence agency and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulator.
The new AML/CTF laws cover for the first time regulation of service providers of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.
AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose PSM said the new laws will strengthen the agency’s compliance and 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.
Effective immediately, DCEs with a business operation located in Australia must now register with AUSTRAC and meet the Government’s AML/CTF compliance and reporting obligations.
There is a transition period until 14 May 2018 to allow current DCE businesses time to register.
Ms Rose said the new laws had been generally welcomed by the digital currency exchange sector.
“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,” she said.
“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,” Ms Rose said.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 requires regulated entities to collect information to establish a customer’s identity, monitor transactional activity, and report to AUSTRAC transactions or activity that is suspicious or involves large amounts of cash over $10,000.
If you operate a digital currency exchange business in Australia, ensure you are registered with AUSTRAC.
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Visit the DCE page of the AUSTRAC website for more information on your AML/CTF obligations.
P: (02) 9950 0488
M: 0418 103 107
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