The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (Austrac) has now formally enlisted 246 cryptocurrency exchanges. This move is a key step towards legitimizing crypto assets by the Pro-regulation industry participants. The enlistment procedure incorporates investigations, background checks an other anti-money laundering procedures on the organizations involved.
Last year, Australia amended its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws, making it a prerequisite for all digital asset exchanges to enroll with Austrac, the nation’s best financial intelligence agency.
As per a report on Jan. 31 by the public broadcaster, ABC, the organization has also researched 11 crypto exchanging platforms. In the end, two enrollments between April 2018, when the changes took effect, and mid-January 2019, declined without disclosure of the reason.
Until October, traders completely agreed to the new Austrac rules. This includes reporting suspicious activity like money laundering or terrorist funding. The article cited an anonymous Austrac official who cautioned: “We will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action where significant or wilful non-compliance is identified.”
Phillippa Ryan, a cryptocurrency researcher at the University of Technology Sydney, told ABC that regulation will help delegitimize “the cowboys and the shonky operators.”
“You need to start at the beginning, with all the regulation you need and no more to support innovation and protect investors. Then you let it run … [and] start legislating as things go wrong and you learn lessons.”
“We always had the feeling that regulation is important to bring cryptocurrency into the mainstream,”
-Adrian Przelozny, head of local cryptocurrency trading platform Independent Reserve,
Various aspects influenced Austrac’s decision. For instance, Australia’s competition regulator a year ago was excess of 6,000 reports about potential scams connected to virtual currencies. More than $9.5 million, most of it in investment scams, accounted in losses. There were additionally deep concerns about initial coin offerings.
“If you look back two or three years, it was quite easy for anyone to start their own exchange. It was really up to the consumer to do their own research to see if the exchange they were interacting with was one they could trust.”
-stated by Adrian Przelozny