Published On: Fri, Aug 18th, 2017

Bitcoin latest news: Australia crackdown on cryptocurrency funding terrorism

The Australian government said the threat of financial crime is constantly evolving as it introduced new measures targeting criminal use of the cryptocurrency and strengthened the Anti-Money Laundering And Counter Terrorism Financing Act.

Under the reforms, currency exchange providers of digital money, such as the bitcoin and ethereum, will be brought under the remit of the Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

The investigative and enforcement powers of the financial intelligence agency will also be strengthened as part of the changes.

Australia’s Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said: “Stopping the movement of money 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.

“The threat of serious financial crime is constantly evolving, as new technologies emerge and criminals seek to nefariously exploit them.

“These measures ensure there is nowhere for criminals to hide.”

China has already made similar moves and promised to shut exchanges that were found to violate anti money-laundering regulations.

It is seen as a positive move for the cryptocurrencies as it helps brings them into the mainstream.

New rules in Japan mean bitcoin is now considered a legal currency.

Aurélien Menant, founder and CEO of Gatecoin, told CNBC: “It signifies the growing recognition of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as influential value transfer protocols by governments.

“Compliance with AUSTRAC policies will weed out the crooks and ensure that only serious bitcoin businesses are able to serve the market.”

It comes after bitcoin’s value smashed through the $4,000 mark this week to hit a fresh record high.

The Australian Digital Currency & Commerce Association said the government reforms will help provide regulatory certainty to digital currency businesses.

However, members of the crytocurrency community who want to remain anonymous are likely to be against the move to further regulate the sector.

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