Australia’s Bitcoin Exchanges to Get New AML Rules
Starting from April 3, Australia’s cryptocurrencies would have to follow a set of new rules aimed at countering terrorism financing and money laundering(AML/CTF). Australia’s financial intelligence agency, Austrac, has published a new webpage for the new obligations, providing a reminder to the exchange platforms existing in the crypto space.
The new obligations which the exchanges would need to meet include:
- Registering with the agency
- Adopting and maintaining an AML/CTF program
- Identifying and verifying users
- Reporting suspicious behavior and transactions of, or more than, A$10,000 (US$7,700)
The companies are expected to maintain the records for seven years in addition to complying with the aforementioned obligations.
Not complying with these obligations would lead to penalties and criminal charges. However, Austrac is pretty flexible with the new obligations. In the post mentioning the changes, Austrac mentions:
“A ‘policy principles’ period of six months will be in place from 3 April 2018. During that period, the AUSTRAC CEO can only take enforcement action if [a cryptocurrency exchange] fails to take ‘reasonable steps’ to comply.”
While the registration applications of the exchanges are being considered, the existing firms can continue providing their services in a transitional arrangement. However, they have to register before the 14th of May to prevent themselves from getting into any trouble.
These changes, aimed at countering illicit uses of cryptocurrencies, aren’t exactly new. They were first set early in December 2017 when the Senate approved the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017.
The bill wasn’t the only notable piece of legislation passed by the Australian government last year. In fact, it was the second notable one. Another important bill launched by the Australian government in October 2017 which aimed at ending the double-taxation of cryptocurrencies had also been a notable piece of legislation by the Australian government. Earlier, the cryptocurrencies were taxed, both on purchase and sale. But with the October 2017 bill, the double-taxation ended.
With more countries accepting cryptocurrencies with open arms, the future of cryptocurrencies is certainly a bright one!