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Aside from giving Digital Currency Exchanges a TLA (three letter acronym) AUSTRAC has sidestepped all the "is it, isn't it?" fuss in so many countries and stated the obvious: because digital currency is "money" in the economists' sense of the word, anyone operating an exchange is subject to the same rules and regulations as anyone operating an exchange in fiat currencies. But here's the surprise: the requirement to register with AUSTRAC and to put in place money laundering, etc compliance and risk management systems comes into force today. And the notice was only published this morning. Moreover, there is an unexpected consequence for the mainstream financial sector.

The grand-daddy of the current crop of electronic currencies is, of course, Bitcoin. In recent months, its value has appreciated exponentially until it reached more than 5,000 dollars. But it's just the most famous so-called "cryptocurrency" and now the technology is "in the wild," anyone with the necessary, apparently not very advanced, IT skills can make one. China says "enough is enough" and is taking steps to more or less outlaw cryptocurrencies or, at least, to make their use difficult. China has explained its reasoning - and it makes a huge amount of sense. The questions are whether the horse has already bolted, can access to cryptocurrencies outside China be banned and just how much use is it really for money laundering, a main plank of the Chinese objection.