AUSTRAC Now Policing Cryptocurrency Exchanges

As of May 14th, digital currency exchanges (DCEs) located in Australia will be required to register with Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, which will have the power to police over the cryptocurrency platforms.

The new law is designed to monitor these DCE’s for money-laundering and terrorism financing.  According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) there has been an increase in illegal activity by criminal gangs using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.  Ransomware attacks by cyber-criminals have often demanded their payment in cryptocurrencies in order to avoid being tracked.

There is evidence that these currencies are being used on trading platforms in Australia such as Silk Road 3.0 and Valhalla Marketplace to traffic and sell illegal drugs, firearms, precursor chemicals and child exploitation materials.  According to Nicole Rose, the CEO of AUSTRAC, the DCE community has welcomed the new laws because it will help these businesses minimize the risks of their customers using their systems for money laundering and other illegal activities.  Rose has stated that “The information that these businesses will collect and report to AUSTRAC will have immediate benefit in the fight against serious crime and terrorism financing.”

The new law will also require that AUSTRAC’s registered DCE businesses collect information that will establish the identities of their customers.  The DCEs will need to monitor their customer’s activity and report any suspicious activities and transactions or transactions that involve a large sum of cash that is over $10,000.


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