Australian Senate Committee Rolls The Ball In Favour Of Bringing Regulation In Bitcoin Exchanges
A document was published last week by the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee stating that “The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017” will soon be passed. Introduced by the Senate in August, the bill contains measures which can bring changes in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of 2006 (AML/CTF Act) for strengthening the same and hiking up the power of Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (Austrac). The bill also stated out that it wishes to regulate the service hemisphere of digital currency providers. The document read that it:
“ seeks to introduce a new designated service and register in order to regulate digital currency exchange, to be introduced within six months of the bill’s commencement. The bill amends the AML/CTF Act to establish a number of civil penalties in relation to an unregistered person providing digital currency exchange services, which are all subject to strict liability.”
The document detailed that, “Submitters to the inquiry were generally supportive of the bill’s measures to implement the reforms.”
The committee was called during the review period for public comments. According to the website of Parliament of Australia, nine submissions were received, two of which was related to cryptocurrencies. One came from Nyman Gibson Miralis, a leading Australian criminal law firm. The firm stated that, “the proposed legislative amendments do not seem to contemplate for the likely scenario that an individual can simply choose to exchange with a digital currency provider outside of Australia’s national jurisdiction.” They also added that, “What is unclear is whether the legislative amendments capture a person who exchanges with a digital currency provider outside of Australia. The very nature of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are that they transcend Australia’s national jurisdiction.”
An Australian fintech company also came ahead with a submission concerning the provisions of digital currency which if implemented can help customers pay off dues using Bitcoin. Daniel Alexiuc, the CEO of Living Room of Satoshi wrote, “the proposed legislation will have the effect of requiring KYC procedures of our customers for even very small transactions.” He clarified that most of the transactions entered into by his company are below AUD$1000 and those crossing the $1000 threshold are fully KYC compliant.
He elaborated that, “Adding KYC requirements to low-value payments like this would add unnecessary friction and make this payment system far less attractive than using incumbent payment systems, even if they are more expensive. The legislation will impact our current business and stifle future innovation in the area of small payments, since many of our customers will feel KYC is unwarranted and too much of a hassle for small amounts. This will also reduce competition in the payments industry.” He has also proposed using the AUD$1000 threshold for Low-Value Non-Cash Payment Facilities and wished to include “an exemption from KYC requirements for low-value payments.”
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