Investors in Australia are claiming that banks are freezing their accounts and stopping all transactions to cryptocurrency exchanges. There has been a tweet that has gone viral claiming that the big four banks and one exchange company are restricting all deposits. The banks are said to be ANZ, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
These banks are being accused of restricting transfers to Coinbase, CoinSpot, BTC Markets and Coinjar. Bitcoin was long ago associated with criminal activities like the sale of drugs, weapons among others. This was later proven wrong and has since become a very lucrative business. Finacial institutions have however continued to fight cryptocurrencies with some describing Bitcoin investment as a security risk.
According to the tweet from Nugget’s News Australia the banks were accused of freezing accounts. The tweet went on to say that banks were allowed to fight on, but people would still want to have control over their money.
The banks have remained silent about the matter, but none of the banks has had a wide policy of banning cryptocurrency activities. Back in May commonwealth Banks put restrictions stating that: “When destination account previously has previously been used for fraud, or it’s an account used to facilitate Bitcoin or other virtual currencies then it can be frozen.”
The spokesperson of a Commonwealth Bank said they were supportive of innovation, but they would recommend any of the current virtual currencies as they are believed not to meet the minimum standard or reliability, standard, and reputation as compared to the other currencies offered to customers by the bank.
Terms and Conditions
The bank, however, did not have problems with its customers interacting with the virtual currencies as long as they comply with the bank’s terms and conditions and the legal obligations. According to Michael Juric who used the name Bitcoin Babe on twitter, she has had her 30 business accounts closed by banks. She actually received a letter from ANZ bank stating that they were going to close her account from 30th January according to their terms and conditions.
Juric went on to share letters from 10 banks stating they were to close her accounts. One of the banks stated that she had received fraudulent money but never specified cryptocurrency. She, however, said that Banks were not the only reliable source to transfer funds because there were other avenues to do so.
The spokesperson of ANZ said they did not prohibit customers from buying cryptocurrencies because the bank’s terms of business accounts do not mention cryptocurrency payments. According to the spokesperson, accounts can be closed due to unsatisfactory conduct.
The founder of CoinSpot did not know about the issue but promised to monitor it. The founder went on to say that: “We know that on occasion banks can freeze payments as they clarify with customers about any breach of rules. This is a good standard which is done in good faith to protect all customers.
The discussion on virtual currencies in Australia is still on even though BTC Markets, Coinbase, and CoinJar have refused to comment on the matter.