Australians who wish to make use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin will likely see revisions and updates in the country’s anti-money laundering policies. The fate of Bitcoin regulation rests on Parliament’s vote to place new policies in existing anti-money laundering legislation.
Bitcoin joins other digital currencies such as Ethereum as the new “hot” trends in the global business market. After all, Bitcoin has just once again hit a record mark of an AU$7,467 trading per Bitcoin piece. This is almost ten times as much compared to October 2016 Bitcoin statistics, where Bitcoins back then were just AU$803.
With price tags amounting to that much, it’s no wonder a lot of people want to get into the “digital currency trend.” However, Aussies who want to invest in Bitcoin and other currencies may have to follow revised anti-money laundering laws first.
Australia and Bitcoin: Anti-Money Laundering
Should Parliament pass the new law, digital currency trade in Australia will likely be handled by AUSTRAC. This means exchanges such as BTC Markets and Independent Reserve will have to be registered, and unauthorised personnel who provide exchange services with digital currency will be considered an offense.
According to ABC Australia, Michael Keenan said the new law will require businesses that use digital currency to register with AUSTRAC. Keenan, also serving as Justice Minister, said the enterprises must also implement programs that maintain what is called AML and CTF, or anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing.
Digital Crime, Digital Currencies
This move is likely due to the strong position of the nation towards the regulation of digital currencies. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) said this is due to the fact that criminals also use digital currencies due to their anonymous nature.
It can be remembered that Bitcoin and other currencies can be sold online anonymous, as they don’t have a “central bank” to monitor and facilitate all exchanges. For instance, Bitcoin can be traded inside suspicious website inside the “darknet” or the online black market to purchase illegal drugs, chemicals, and firearms.
Digital currency remains unregulated in Australia due to what appears to be a loophole in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. Digital currencies (e-currencies) are defined as “an internet-based, electronic means of exchange” which is based on something physical, like bullions, gold, or silver.
According to legislators, this too specific a definition does not apply to currencies like Etherium and Bitcoin, as they don’t have physical assets.
The new laws would hopefully remove the stigma attached to digital currencies, wherein people perceive them to be only used in crime. After all, digital currencies are also capable of giving more confidence to consumers, businesses, and investors who want a more secure way to protect their finances.