Down Under Crypto Update: Digital Currency Exchange Legislative Guidelines Issued

Digital currency exchange guidelines at last! Australia has implemented new legislative guidelines aimed at regulating digital currency exchange businesses. Enacted earlier this week, the new regulations require cryptocurrency exchanges in the country to comply with requirements outlined in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AMF/CFT). 

Under the new regulations, from 3 April 2018 DCE businesses are required to meet AML/CTF obligations, including:

  • 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

“A ‘policy principles’ period of six months will be in place from 3 April 2018. During that period, the AUSTRAC CEO can only take enforcement action if a DCE business fails to take ‘reasonable steps’ to comply,” specified the document. “Transitional registration arrangements will be in place for existing businesses to allow them to continue providing services while their registration application is being considered. Existing businesses providing DCE services will need to register by 14 May 2018. There will be criminal offence and civil penalty consequences if you provide digital currency exchange services without being registered.”

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“The cryptocurrency exchanges are also expected to report to Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) any suspicious matters, and transactions involving physical currency of AUD10,000 or more. They are also expected to keep records of their operations, including AML/CTF policies, for seven years,” explained CoinGeek’s Dennis Wafula. “All owners of businesses providing cryptocurrency exchange services in Australia are expected to have registered their companies by May 14. AUSTRAC said failure to adhere to the new law would result in criminal and civil penalties, and non-compliant operators could face various fines and up to seven years imprisonment. AUSTRAC also has the powers to issue an infringement notice to any cryptocurrency exchange business which will not comply with the set obligations.”

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