Australian Senate Panel Throws Support Behind Crypto Exchange Bill

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The Australian Senate has begun deliberating a bill that would apply the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) statutes to domestic cryptocurrency exchanges.

The bill was first unveiled in August – introduced in the House of Representatives, one of two chambers in Australia’s Parliament – revealing that lawmakers are considering approaches such as criminal penalties for unlawful exchange operators. The bill also called for the creation of a so-called “Digital Currency Exchange Register,” which if created would be managed by the Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the Australia’s financial intelligence agency.

New public documents indicate that the Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee has taken up the measure, signifying that the new rules are now being considered in both of the Parliament’s chambers. A 35-page report, published earlier this month, details the various elements of the bill, which focuses on beefing up the rules around AML and know-your-customer regulations.

Notably, the report suggests that the committee is in support of the measure, stating in its conclusion that it “recommends that the bill be passed.”

 Back in August, the government said in statements at the time that the measure is intended to “close the gap” between new technologies like cryptocurrency and a set of rules in need of an update.

“The bill will … close a regulatory gap by bringing digital currency exchange providers under the remit of AUSTRAC,” officials said at the time.

It’s unclear at this time whether other committees within the Australian Senate will take up the bill.

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