Australia’s financial intelligence agency and watchdog has reminded domestic cryptocurrency exchanges of their new regulatory obligations that includes registration, effective today.
In an announcement today, the Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has told domestic DCE (digital currency exchange) businesses of their mandatory requirement to meet anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) obligations that go into effect today, April 3, 2018.
The agency has reminded cryptocurrency exchanges of adhering to obligatory requirements that include:
- adopting and maintaining an AML/CTF program to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks
- identifying and verifying the identities of their customers
- reporting to AUSTRAC suspicious matters, and transactions involving physical currency of $10,000 or more
- keeping certain records for seven years.
The authority said a new ‘policy principles’ period will kick in for six months starting today wherein the chief executive of AUSTRAC will have the authority to take action against crypto exchanges if the operator fails to take ‘reasonable steps’ to comply with the requirements.
Existing crypto exchange operators are reminded to enroll on the ‘Digital Currency Exchange Register’, maintained by AUSTRAC, by May 14, 2018. AUSTRAC is establishing ‘transitional registration arrangements’ to enable existing operators to continue their businesses while their applications are being screened.
The authority added, sternly:
There will be criminal offence and civil penalty consequences if you provide digital currency exchange services without being registered.
As reported by CCN in August 2017, Australia’s justice minister Michael Keenan announced the government’s move in regulating domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, a first for the nation. Under the country’s reformed (and strengthened) money laundering laws, exchange platforms facilitating the trading of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will be regulated under the purview of AUSTRAC, the country’s financial intelligence agency.
AUSTRAC’s authority was enhanced following legislation passed in December 2017, authorizing the authority to monitor cryptocurrency exchanges.