The Australian Senate has passed legislation extending anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulation to digital currency exchanges.
The legislation requires these exchanges to monitor and report certain transactions to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Aaustrac).
This follows the Parliament’s approval of legislation in October that recognised digital currencies as equivalent to money for the purposes of good and services tax and therefore removed the potential that the use of these currencies would be subject to double taxation.
Australia is understood to be one of only a handful of countries - one other being Japan - to have made amendments to both its tax and justice laws to recognise digital currencies. Similar moves are afoot in the UK and EU as interest in cryptocurrencies soars amid a speculative bull run on bitcoin.
Scott Williamson, CEO of Australian biometric identity verification solutions company PRIMEiD says: “Digital currencies are the wave of the future for payment systems, but they also have the potential to provide a powerful new tool for criminals. This new regulation, supported by innovative regtech firms, will significantly mitigate the risks and allow the digital currency industry to continue to excel.”
The digital currency legislation passage comes after the Australian Securities Exchange announced on Thursday that it was going to use distributed ledger technology to manage its clearing and settlement system for equity transactions.