The last couple of months have encouraged several countries to find ways of regulating Bitcoin and other digital currencies, in order to lower the number of abuses, such as money laundering, or illegal financing.
With this in mind, according to recent reports, it seems like Australia is planning to not only strengthen their anti-money laundering laws, but also to regulate digital currencies, following a big financial scandal involving the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Recently published reforms made by the government, will put digital currency exchanges under the supervision of the Austrac, which is Australia’s financial crime agency. Not only this, but the new legislation that has just been approved will also increase the powers of Austrac. Austrac recently intervened in a scandal after initiating civil action against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for the crimes of money laundering and financing terrorism. Although this has not been yet fully confirmed by the competent authorities, Australia’s justice minister, Michael Keenan stated that: ‘Stopping the movement of money to criminals and terrorists is a vital part of our national security defenses and we expect regulated business in Australia to comply with our comprehensive regime’.
Reports indicate that the reforms are bound to be balanced, and only want to deal with the threat posed by financial crime and terrorism financing. This will likely ensure that the laws do not hinder the activity of financial sectors that are respecting all current regulation and are not part of financial crime organizations.
Apart from this, it seems like the Australian reforms will also increase certain powers of custom officers at the country’s borders. Regulatory relief will reportedly be given to low-risk businesses.
Of course, the new reforms also include digital currencies, which are now being regulated for the first time in the country. It is possible that this set of reforms will impose stricter regulation on exchanges to make sure that nobody is using them to launder money coming from illegal sources.
The Australian Government move is therefore very similar to the move taken by the Japanese government a while back, which made bitcoin exchanges operating in the region prone to annual audits, while also making them subject to KYC laws, and anti-money laundering regulations.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what do you personally think about Australia cracking down on money laundering and keeping a close eye on digital currency exchanges as well? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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