The Australian Federal Police (AFP) formed a new cryptocurrency unit to focus on crypto-related transactions, reported The Australian Financial Review. The step is in line with the policy of Australian law enforcement to monitor crypto-related transactions closely.
Stefan Jerga, the national manager of the AFP’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT), commented on the matter at hand. He stated that crypto usage for crimes has significantly increased since the authorities made their first crypto seizure in 2018.
Additionally, AFP released a press release on 5 September which mentioned how the AFP delivered a significant blow to organized crime. The organization restrained over $600 million in criminal assets in the last three years.
The CACT has confiscated $380 million in residential and commercial properties. The task force also seized $200 million in cash and bank accounts, and $35 million in cars, boats, aircraft, cryptocurrency, artwork, and other luxury items.
In 2020, Commissioner Reece Kershaw set a target of confiscating $600 million within the next five years( by 2024). However, the agency has achieved its target much ahead of time.
Jerga further stated that the value of confiscated crypto assets was small as compared to that of assets like property and cash. However, the increased focus of the agency will try to gain insights into the operational models of criminal groups.
The ability to trace cryptocurrency transactions across blockchains stands important alongside other issues, such as national security and so on.
Cryptocurrency regulations are a priority
In December 2021, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced that a cryptocurrency asset reform plan will put Australia at the front of the pack.
He also said that by the end of 2022, the government aims to undertake a mapping exercise of existing cryptocurrencies. This aim was set to better inform consumers and others of the risks and benefits that arise.
“It represents the most significant reforms to our payments system in 25 years,” noted Josh Frydenberg.
Additionally, the Australian government announced that it would review cryptocurrency assets to better understand and regulate the industry.
Token mapping would be a priority of the recently-elected PM Anthony Albanese’s government. The Australian Taxation Office estimates that more than one million taxpayers have interacted with the crypto asset ecosystem since 2018.
“With the increasingly widespread proliferation of crypto assets — to the extent that crypto advertisements can be seen plastered all over big sporting events — we need to make sure customers engaging with crypto are adequately informed and protected,” said Treasurer Jim Chalmers.