Newly implemented regulations from Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, has mandated domestic cryptocurrency exchanges to register with the authority before mid-May 2018.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) reminded cryptocurrency exchange operators of their obligation for compliance with the authority after new regulations effectively kicked in on April 3. The regulatory laws, the first for Australia’s cryptocurrency sector, were fast-tracked after the Australian Senate passed legislation to that effect in late 2017.
“Effective immediately, DCEs (digital currency exchanges) with a business operation located in Australia must now register with AUSTRAC and meet the Government’s AML/CTF compliance and reporting obligations,” the authority said yesterday.
Notably, it added:
There is a transition period until 14 May 2018 to allow current DCE businesses time to register.
The new rules, AUSTRAC says, will empower the agency’s compliance and intelligence capabilities help crypto-exchange operators to introduce systems that minimize money laundering and terrorism financing risks.
Under the terms of their compliance, crypto exchange operators – once registered – will be required to follow know-your-customer (KYC) norms to establish a customer’s identity, monitor transactions and flag suspicious transactions by reporting them to AUSTRAC. Further, all transactions involving cash over AUD$10,000 will also need to be reported.
“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,” AUSTRAC CEO Nicole Rose stated.
The new reforms have also been generally welcomed and accepted by the domestic cryptocurrency sector, she added, claiming that regulation “will also help strengthen public and consumer confidence in the sector”.
Australia moved to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges under existing AML and CTF laws in August 2017, following the likes of Japan which introduced its own guidelines for the sector last year.
The Asian nation is home to a thriving cryptocurrency ecosystem following the official recognition with a number of mainstream conglomerates and players in traditional finance confidently moving into the cryptocurrency sector. This is particularly evident with online brokerage Monex purchasing Tokyo-based crypto exchange Coincheck for ¥3.6 billion ($33.5 million) this month, despite the exchange suffering a monumental $530 million crypto theft in January.