Australia’s new legislative guidelines for the operation of cryptocurrency exchanges were introduced on the 3rd of April 2018. From now on, Australian digital currency exchange businesses will be required to register and comply with anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws.
Australia Introduces AML/CTF Requirements for Cryptocurrency Exchanges
Australia’s new regulative apparatus pertaining to cryptocurrencies has formally been adopted as law, mandating that digital currency exchange businesses comply with the country’s AML/CTF requirements.
Cryptocurrency exchanges must now register and report to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC). AUSTRAC has issued a document outlining the primary obligations of digital currency exchanges under the new guidelines.
In addition to “adopting and maintaining an AML/CTF program to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks,” Australian virtual currency exchanges must “identify” and “verify” the “identities of their customers,” keep “certain records for seven years,” and report “suspicious matters” and “transactions involving physical currency of $10,000 or more” to AUSTRAC.
Transitional Registration Arrangements in Place for Existing Exchanges
AUSTRAC states that “A ‘policy principles’ period of six months will be in place from 3 April 2018” – during which “the AUSTRAC CEO can only take enforcement action if a DCE business fails to take ‘reasonable steps’ to comply.”
The six month period will also see “Transitional registration arrangements” made available to “existing businesses to allow them to continue providing services while their registration application being considered.” Existing digital currency exchange businesses will need to register for the transitional registration arrangements by May 14th. AUSTRAC warns that the unregistered provision of digital currency exchange services will suffer “criminal offense and civil penalty consequences.”
Last week, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced that it is seeking public consultation from citizens regarding how the ATO should “approach specific tax events.” The ATO, which has been drafting legislation for the taxation of cryptocurrencies, stated that it has “launched a community consultation to help us understand practical issues experienced when complying with cryptocurrency tax obligations.”