Australia Introduces Cryptocurrency Exchange Regulations

  • Australian cryptocurrency exchanges will need to register and report to AUSTRAC
  • The new regulations are already in effect. Failure to comply will lead to "civil penalty consequences."

Australia has just implemented new regulatory obligations cryptocurrency exchanges will need to comply with. A recent announcement published by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) reveals the regulator is pushing against money laundering and seeking to bring forward counter-measures agaisnt terror financing. 

The announcement comes a week after the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) revealed it was seeking public consultation from citizens regarding how it should approach "specific tax events." Specifically, the ATO was looking for the public's views on cryptocurrency taxation, as it "launched a community consultation to help us understand practical issues experienced when complying with cryptocurrency tax obligations.”

According to AUSTRAC, cryptocurrency exchanges will now need to:

  • Adopt and maintain an AML/CTF program to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks
  • Identify and verify the identities of their customers
  • Report to AUSTRAC suspicious matters, and transactions involving physical currency of $10,000 or more
  • Keep certain records for a period of seven years.

The legislation has been in effect for cryptocurrency exchanges since April 3, for a trial period of six months, which will help measure their success and relative impact on the market for users. During the six-month trial period, AUSTRAC CEO will only take action if exchanges don't take "reasonable steps" to comply.

At the end of its announcement, AUSTRAC notd:

"There will be criminal offence and civil penalty consequences if you provide digital currency exchange services without being registered."

AUSTRAC

Cryptocurrency exchanges are being urged to register, presumably to improve their level of accountability within the marketplace. Australia is also incorporating 'transitional registration arrangements' for crypto exchanges, which will come into effect on May 14. These arrangements will allow existing exchanges to continue trading, while transactions and applications are screened for legitimacy.

Billion Dollar Asset Manager WisdomTree Planning Stablecoin Launch

  • WisdomTree, which oversees $63 billion in assets, is planning to launch a new stablecoin in the US.
  • WisdomTree is already in discussions with the SEC to have the digital currency fully compliant for launch. 

Asset manager WisdomTree is reportedly planning to launch a fully regulated stablecoin in the United States backed by a basket of assets. 

According to a report by FNLondon on Jan. 13, WisdomTree, which oversees $63.8 billion in assets, is rushing to launch a stablecoin in the U.S. ahead of other industry giants such as BlackRock and Fidelity Investments.

The report claims the new digital currency will be pegged to a basket of assets, including gold, fiat currencies and/or government debt. WisdomTree intends to have the product fully approved and regulated and is said to be already in discussions with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

The news follows a press release issued on Jan. 7 announcing that WisdomTree had invested into Securrency, Inc., a startup geared towards building institutional-grade blockchains in the financial space. 

The initial report claimed WisdomTree intended to work with Seucrrency to pursue the integration of blockchain technology into the exchange-traded fund (ETF) ecosystem. 

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com