The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) is Australia’s financial intelligence agency with regulatory responsibility for preventing and detecting money laundering and terrorism financing. The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act 2017 (AML/CTF Amendment Act) expanded AUSTRAC’s regulatory responsibilities to include digital currency exchange (DCE) providers. This audit would assess the effectiveness of AUSTRAC’s regulation of DCE providers.

Digital currencies — including cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin — are at risk of being used for criminal purposes due to the anonymity and lack of transparency of currency exchanges. The objective of the AML/CTF Amendment Act is to reduce the money laundering and terrorism financing risks attached to the expanding DCE sector.

The audit would examine the way in which AUSTRAC communicates the new registration and reporting requirements to DCE providers; administers a Digital Currency Exchange Register; assesses and addresses risks to registration and reporting compliance; and uses reported information. The audit would also determine whether AUSTRAC has developed an evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness of the regulatory regime in achieving the policy objective of preventing and detecting crime.