Bitcoin: Australia Cracks Down on Digital Currency Exchanges

Bitcoin exchanges will be regulated under new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws proposed by the Australian government.

The new laws will strengthen the powers of the Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), which has been in the headlines for alleging the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AU) breached the nation’s anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws by not properly reporting transactions through its ‘intelligent’ ATMs. Bitcoin exchanges will now fall under the supervision of AUSTRAC.

Here’s more details on Justice Minister Michael Keenan’s proposals:

The Bill provides net regulatory relief to industry of $36 million annually, with the digital currency exchange sector being regulated for the first time, while deregulating low-risk industries such as cash-in-transit, which is already subject to state and territory licensing requirements.

The threat of serious financial crime is constantly evolving, as new technologies emerge and criminals seek to nefariously exploit them. These measures ensure there is nowhere for criminals to hide.

Stopping the movement of money to criminals and terrorists is a vital part of our national security defences and we expect regulated businesses in Australia to comply with our comprehensive regime. AUSTRAC has a strong track record in ensuring our financial institutions comply with the law.

Bitcoin has been on fire, with the digital currency having recently climbed above $4,000.