The Australian government financial intelligence agency called the Austrac has officially registered as much as 246 digital currency exchanges. The process of registering these exchanges involved due diligence including anti-money laundering procedures and other background checks.
Pro-regulation participants from the crypto industry have described this move by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) as a positive step towards the legalization of digital assets in the nation.
Australia’s amendment of counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws in 2018 entailed that all cryptocurrency exchanges register with the financial intelligence agency Austrac.
As per a January 31, 2019, report by ABC, Austrac had initially analysed 11 crypto exchanges, post-which the intelligence agency dismissed the registration of two exchanges between the time period of April 2018 and mid-January 2019.
Austrac has laid out the timeline till October 2018 for exchanges to comply with the requisite rules. The exchanges were to report suspicious transactions that could be potentially associated with terrorist funding or money laundering. An unnamed official from Austrac was quoted as saying,
“We will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action where significant or wilful non-compliance is identified.”
Pro-regulation market players have welcomed the move by Austrac as they are of the view that registration of digital currency exchanges will give Blockchain-based projects more legitimacy.
According to crypto researcher, Phillipa Ryan the regulation will facilitate the delegitimization of ‘shonky operators.’ She believes that such exchanges damage the reputation of cryptocurrencies among the public. Ryan works at Sydney’s University of Technology.
Several multi-million crypto hacks have made investors lose their trust in exchanges in keeping their assets secure.
The decision by Austrac to regulate crypto exchanges in the nation was quite likely necessitated by the deep-rooted scams that marred the cryptocurrency industry.
As per a report, in 2018 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had received as much as 6,000 crypto-related scams that wiped out USD 9.5 million from the unsuspecting investors.