The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (“AUSTRAC”) recently implemented a new regulation for digital currency exchange providers operating in Australia called the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (Digital Currency Exchange Register) Policy Principles 2018.  AUSTRAC is Australia’s financial intelligence agency and is responsible for the enforcement of Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (“AML/CTF”).

The new Australian regulation requires any digital currency exchange provider operating in the country to register with AUSTRAC and comply with the AML/CTF requirements.  It is intended to minimize the risk that criminals use cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to conduct money laundering, terrorism financing and cybercrimes.  According to the CEO of AUSTRAC, the regulation “will help strengthen public and consumer confidence in the sector.”

Australia’s regulation, focusing on financial crimes, is less comprehensive than the legal framework being crafted by Malta for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, which includes the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill, Technology Arrangements and Service Providers Bill, and the Virtual Currencies Bill.  Malta aims to position itself as the “natural destination” for businesses that operate in the blockchain space, according to Silvio Schembri, the Junior Minister for Financial Services in the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta.