Australian woman charged for running her own Bitcoin exchange

In brief

  • An Australian woman has been arrested for allegedly exchanging cash for cryptocurrency.
  • She traded 3.8 Bitcoin for $ 38,625, according to police.
  • She was reportedly part of a money laundering syndicate.

Australian authorities charged a woman for illegally exchanging cash for cryptocurrency, Australian news channel reported 9news.

The 52-year-old woman was arrested at a shopping center in Sydney for exchanging 3.8 Bitcoin for $ 38,625.

She was reportedly part of a money laundering syndicate that actually acted as her own unlicensed scholarship. Since 2017, the syndicate has traded more than 326 Bitcoin ($ 3.1 million in today’s money) since 2017, said Detective Matthew Craft, the squadron commander of the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad.

“This is a significant amount of Bitcoin for someone who is not a registered digital currency exchange,” he reportedly said. After a local house search warrant, an additional $ 11,600 worth of cryptocurrency was seized, along with phones and computers.

Detective Superintendent Craft said the situation was the first of its kind in Australia – which the police are aware of. “This is the first of many arrests I think we will make in the coming years and you will be notified,” he reportedly said.

The charges against the Australian woman seem to violate the principles defended by cryptocurrencies; that people can trade cryptocurrencies for cash without first registering with the government.

While the benefits may be to ‘bank the non-bankers’, the downside is that unregulated exchanges bank ‘the non-bankers’ – people who illegally trade money online to evade the authorities.

It is for this reason that cryptocurrency exchanges must comply with money laundering guidelines and “know your customer” checks, where exchanges must retain information about their customers.

In the coming regulations, which will be enforced within a year or so, crypto exchanges are required to send information about customers when transferring money between exchanges. Called the “travel rule”, regulation has blocked crypto exchanges: do they stick to regulation to stay in business or do they stick to crypto principles?

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