Cryptocurrency

Australia’s AUSTRAC To Regulate Crypto Firms

In Australia, cryptocurrencies are getting more scrutiny from regulators.

Reuters reports that the country has moved oversight of digital currency providers to its financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC.

The shift is immediate, reported the newswire, and represents the first steps to strengthen efforts under the country’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act.

All exchange providers that traffic in cryptocurrencies within Australia’s borders must register with the agency. Reuters reported the move is aimed at reducing the risk of money laundering and terrorism financing.

“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,” Chief Executive Nicole Rose said. “The information that these businesses will collect and report to AUSTRAC will have immediate benefit in the fight against serious crime and terrorism financing.”

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act mandates that regulated entities — spanning banks and money transfer firms — collect data that ascertains the identities of customers involved in transactions. The Act also stipulates that firms must oversee those transactions, with an eye on suspicious activity that handles sums over $10,000 Australian dollars.

As reported, the shift comes more than two years after the Financial Action Task Force said there were deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering efforts.

“The next and more challenging phase of legislative reforms in Australia,” said Reuters, “will be to extend the rules to lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and dealers in high-value goods.”

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