New rules that are meant to curb Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and terrorism financing (CFT) have come into force and will require Australian crypto exchanges to comply.
Austrac, the country’s financial intelligence agency, has set a new web page on which they have outlined their obligations and set to provide the timely reminder to exchange platforms in the crypto space.
The new obligations that the exchanges must meet include registering with the agency, adopting and maintaining an AML/CTF program, identifying and verifying users, and reporting suspicious behavior and transactions involving fiat currency of AUD 10,000 (US$7,700) and over. Also included on the list is the demand that the exchanges maintain records for seven years.
Unregistered exchanges that offer their services will be engaging in criminal activity, and according to Austrac, this will attract criminal charges and penalties. Registration commenced on 3rd of April this year, but transitional arrangements have been put in place to all existing exchanges to continue plying their trade but encouraged to apply by 4th May this year.
These new regulations were first into law when the Australian Senate approved the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017 in early December 2017. Austrac also got the oversight authority over cryptocurrencies from the said bill. This bill was the second notable one to be passed in Australia last year. The first bill that was passed in October 2017 had the effect of bringing to a conclusion the issue of double taxation of cryptocurrencies.
With the passing of the bill, as of July 1, 2018, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will get the same GST treatment as foreign currencies.