Hackathon to seek innovative ideas for combating money laundering

AUSTRAC to host inaugural ASEAN-Australia Codeathon

AUSTRAC — the Australian government agency tasked with combating money laundering and terrorism financing — is seeking new and innovative ideas to aid its work through a 32-hour hackathon.

The first ASEAN-Australia Codeathon will be held in Sydney from 14 to 16 March.

“Emerging technologies such as blockchain, machine learning, automation and artificial intelligence are rapidly evolving,” Raj Walton, the agency’s director for innovation, information and transformation, told Computerworld.

Those technologies, among others, will be a key part of the Codeathon, he added.

The first Codeathon was held in Kuala Lumpur in November last year.

“There will be several challenges at the event, all requiring different skills and talents to solve,” Walton said.

The AUSTRAC executive added: “The challenge for today’s governments and the financial sector industry across the ASEAN region is to better understand and apply these technology innovations to transform financial business operations, mitigate money laundering, terrorism-financing and related criminal risks and improve AML/CTF [anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing] targeting and compliance functions.”

During the challenges, the participants will generally rely on open source data, he said.

“The Codeathon provides an exciting opportunity to expand and strengthen collaboration by sharing knowledge with contestants across the region,” he added.

The event “makes it possible for people from different parts of the world [to collaborate] on a common goal; that is, to develop innovative and tangible solutions to 21st century challenges in tackling serious crime and terrorism,” Walton said.

“There will be a lot of exciting ideas and potential solutions coming from the Codeathon, which will allow financial intelligence units around the region, including AUSTRAC and its government and industry partners, to explore further.”

Last year AUSTRAC launched its Fintel Alliance Innovation Hub to offer a “safe space” to prototype the kinds of new and innovative ideas expected to come out of the Codeathon

“AUSTRAC is working with its government and industry to co-design creative business models and financing controls for new AML/CTF products, services, systems and processes that can help protect industry and the community from the threats of serious crime and terrorism,” Walton said.

Only a limited number of teams will be registered for the event, and participants may be from Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam.

Registration details for the event are available online.

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