SYDNEY : Australia's tax authority is stepping up its efforts to police the use of cryptocurrencies, fearing many investments and gains are not correctly declared.

The Australian Taxation Office is to begin monitoring transaction data from a selected crypto  providers in a bid to weed out evasion, Deputy Commissioner Will Day told AFP Wednesday.

''This is the first time the ATO has used its formal information gathering powers to obtain bulk customer and transaction data on cryptocurrency from a number of designated service providers,'' he said.

Between 500,000 and a million Australians are believed to have invested in crypto-assets such as bitcoin.

Authorities are around the world have long been concerned about the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal transactions linked to drug trafficking, terrorism and money laundering.

But as investing in such assets has become more mainstream, governments have also focused efforts on getting their fair slice public purse.

According to data provider CoinMarketCap there are more than 2,000 crytptocurrencies in existence, with Wall Street banks and traditional financial firms getting in on the act. [AFP]


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