Australia to regulate virtual currency exchanges like Bitcoin

August 18, 2017
Australia is set to regulate virtual currency exchanges such as Bitcoin and strengthen the powers of its financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC as it cracks down on money laundering and terrorism financing

Australia is set to regulate virtual currency exchanges such as Bitcoin and strengthen the powers of its financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC as it cracks down on money laundering and terrorism financing.

The changes came two weeks after AUSTRAC took the country's biggest bank, the Commonwealth, to court for alleged "serious and systemic non-compliance" of and terror financing laws.

It follows similar reforms by Japan to regulate , after the country found itself at the epicentre of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal following the collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange.

"Stopping the movement of to criminals and terrorists is a vital part of our national security defences and we expect regulated businesses in Australia to comply with our comprehensive regime," Justice Minister Michael Keenan said Thursday.

He added that the digital exchange sector was being regulated for the first time, while low-risk industries such as cash-in-transit would be subject to fewer regulations.

Virtual currency has grown rapidly since the 2009 launch of Bitcoin, and there are now more than 100 crypto-currency options.

But the sector has suffered from highly publicised scandals like the 2014 collapse of MtGox.

Backers say virtual currencies offer an efficient and anonymous way to store and transfer funds online.

But critics argue the lack of a legal framework governing the currency, the opaque way it is traded and its volatility, make it dangerous.

Explore further: Top EU court rules Bitcoin exchange tax-free in Europe

Related Stories

Japan regulates virtual currency after Bitcoin scandal

May 26, 2016

Japan has passed a law regulating virtual currency, after the country found itself at the epicentre of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal following the spectacular collapse of the Tokyo-based MtGox Bitcoin exchange.

Bitcoin dispute results in split-coin

August 1, 2017

A dispute among developers of virtual currency Bitcoin gave birth Tuesday to a new version of the crypto coin after they failed to agree on software changes.

Recommended for you

A novel approach of improving battery performance

September 18, 2018

New technological developments by UNIST researchers promise to significantly boost the performance of lithium metal batteries in promising research for the next-generation of rechargeable batteries. The study also validates ...

Germany rolls out world's first hydrogen train

September 17, 2018

Germany on Monday rolled out the world's first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.