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Message from AUSTRAC about the rise in cases of violations of the law related to cryptocurrencies


AUSTRAC, as the Australian center for accounting and analysis of financial transactions, has notified of an increase in the number of crimes in the digital financial sector, based on the development of the cryptocurrency industry.

The reporting provides data from the ACSC (Cybersecurity Center of Australia) on the registration of 500 attacks from programs that were engaged in extortion, in the interval: from 2020 to 2021 financial year. According to statistics, the figure was 15% higher compared to the previous period. Thus, for the Australian society, crime in cyberspace is a growing threat.

The publication of the message took place after the release of a couple of new instructions from the regulator. Their goal is to help organizations:

  • detect illegal use of digital currency by the client;
  • detect payments to representatives of programs extorting monetary assets.

With regard to the debanking of users solely on suspicion of carrying out illegal activities, AUSTRAC predicted significant negative consequences that would affect the country's economy.

With regard to programs that extort monetary assets, the instructions collected characteristic features that determine the facts of extortion:

  1. Showing impatience with the duration of transactions.
  2. Atypical and abrupt operations on a large scale with new organizations.
  3. Transfer of available funds to cryptocurrency.

AUSTRAC noted that victims often keep silent about the fact of extortion and do not apply to the appropriate authorities. They are afraid of unnecessary publicity and do everything to restore and restore the previous state of their activities in a short time. The regulator urged the determination of its users to report extortion cases to ACSC ReportCyber and law enforcement authorities.

AUSTRAC classified the following activities as illegal use of cryptocurrency:

  • tax avoidance;
  • asset laundering activities, including placement, stratification, integration of funds;
  • fraudulent transactions;
  • purchasing illegal products on the dark web.

The constant regulation of the cryptosystem, as part of a gradual tightening, maintains the country's tolerant attitude towards digital currency. APRA (Australia's Center for Foreign Exchange Regulation) announced at the beginning of the fourth month that there would be no restrictions on the development of the crypto market on their part.