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Australia moves to regulate bitcoin

AP

Australia plans to regulate digital currencies like bitcoin as part of an effort to bolster anti-money laundering laws, the FT reports. Reforms published Thursday would bring digital currency exchanges under the purview of the country's financial crime-fighting agency. Australian justice minister Michael Keenan wants to ensure digital currencies aren't used to fund terrorists.

Not alone: Japan took similar measures this year to regulate bitcoin and other "alternative coin" exchanges, opening them up for annual audits. Japan was the first national government to take such action.

Why it matters: Regulating the currency means Japan and other countries are recognizing bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. That recognition has helped send the price of bitcoin to record highs.

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