Business 4 February 2019Steve Kaaru
Australia registers 250 crypto exchanges, legitimizes the industry
Every other day, stories about crypto scams and exchange hacks grab the headlines. In Australia, more positive news has emerged.
The country has now registered 246 crypto exchanges. The registrations come after the country’s top financial intelligence agency enacted new anti-money laundering rules last year. The new rules tightened loose facets that many fraudsters had used to defraud investors.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has been hard at work. The agency is in charge of monitoring financial transactions in the country. It identifies cases of money laundering, tax evasion, organized crime, and fraud. Since enacting the new laws in October last year, it has investigated 11 exchanges. Details on the results of the investigations haven’t been shared with the media; however, during that time, it has refused registration to two other exchanges for uncited reasons.
With Australia being the 14th largest economy in the world, the positive direction is a major step for the industry. Currently, many global economic giants have taken a wait-and-see approach in regulating the industry. Only a few major economies such as Japan and South Korea have some legal framework in place. It’s the smaller economies that have been at the forefront of regulating the industry. They include Malta, which has emerged as a leading crypto and blockchain destination.
Let there be order
AUSTRAC has been a big part of the positive movement in Australia. As the agency’s spokesperson revealed to ABC News, it’s working hard to ensure that the stakeholders are fully compliant. Moreover, those exchanges that fail to comply are being pursued relentlessly. He stated, “We will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action where significant or wilful non-compliance is identified.”
While most people expect the crypto industry to be resistant to rules, it has been quite the opposite. Industry players have welcomed the new regulatory direction and praised AUSTRAC for its diligence in implementing it.
One of those that have welcomed the new regulations is Michael McCarthy. He serves as an executive at CMC Markets, an online forex trading platform which also offers cryptos. According to him, the industry’s attitude toward regulations has greatly improved. This is mainly due to the entrance of new players who welcome such clear guidelines. This new group is slowly phasing out the anti-government group.
In Australia, the crypto industry has previously come under great scrutiny and criticism for increased fraud. In 2018 alone, the Australian government received more than 6,000 reports and complains about the crypto industry. The total damages reported from crypto scams amounted to $9.5 million, with a vast majority being from investment scams. Hopefully, the continued crackdown by AUSTRAC will rid the industry of such cases this year.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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