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Keeping an Eye on Money Laundering: Australia Now Regulates Bitcoin Providers

As the gospel of cryptocurrency penetrates deeper into communities, countries are now getting into panic mode, especially considering how easy it may be for illegal activities like money laundering to thrive under such circumstances. As such, countries are now taking steep to regulate the industry under existing laws. One such country is Australia that has tasked its money laundering watchdog to regulate Bitcoin providers.

Keeping an Eye on Money Laundering: Australia Now Regulates Bitcoin Providers

In its bid to reduce cases of money laundering, cybercrime and terrorism financing, Australia is now taking significant steps that involves its financial intelligence unit. According to a report by Reuters the move is effective immediately and as such, all digital asset exchange providers that have operations in Australia are expected to register with AUSTRAC as per a statement from the government agency.

The Noose Getting Tighter

Australia is looking to strengthen its Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act (AML/CTF) and this is part of its first stage towards making this possible. This move comes just months after AUSTRAC filed a lawsuit against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in what it terms as breaches of money laundering laws.

The AML/CTF Act stipulates that all regulated entities like money transfer operators and banks should collect information that will clearly establish the identity of their customer, monitor each transaction done and report a suspicious activity or one that involves cash over $7,755 (A$10,000).

Nicole Rose, AUSTRAC’s chief executive says that pertinent steps are being taken to help streamline the process. He says:

"AUSTRAC now has increased opportunities to facilitate the sharing of financial intelligence and information relating to the use of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with its industry and government partners,"

Significant Deficiencies Noted

This is a change that comes two years later after the Financial Action Taskforce, a global watchdog noted serious deficiencies in the anti-money laundering network of Australia. Notably, there is an even more challenging phase of legislative reforms that Australia ought to go through. This involves extending the rules to accountants, lawyers, dealers in high value goods and real estate agents.

What do you think about Australia’s move to regulate Bitcoin providers? Is this warranted? How will this affect the growth of cryptocurrency in this country? Let us know of your thoughts in the comments section below.