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:
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. Another bill, passed in October 2017, ended the long-controversial "double taxation" of cryptocurrencies. Previously, cryptos were taxed first upon purchase, then effectively again when buying items subject to the tax – a situation that arose from a previous 2014 law that treated cryptocurrencies as bartered goods for goods and services tax (GST) purposes.
With the passing of the bill, as of July 1, 2018, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will get the same GST treatment as foreign currencies.
Sydney image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.