Bitcoiners in Australia claim banks are on purpose freezing their bank accounts, disallowing exchange transfers, and at least one exchange is over-reacting to the freeze. They’re so unnerved they’ve done what any good crypto enthusiast does: air it all on social media and in comment threads.
Australian bitcoiners have taken, in frustration, to social media and comment threads to broadcast treatment by banks and, to a lesser degree, exchanges. In particular, Commonwealth Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), National Australia Bank (NAB), Westpac Banking Corporation, known as the “big four,” have halted exchange transfers and frozen accounts, according to enthusiasts.
Popular regional crypto exchange, Coinspot, announced a temporary hold on fiat deposits from the country in response to friction with banks.
“We assure you we are just as unhappy with the situation as you, but unfortunately Australian banks have been so far unwilling to work with the digital currency industry which leads to frequent account closures and strict limits on accounts whilst they remain operational, in effect debanking our industry,” the exchange alerted.
Australian John Rudge commented on the exchange’s sudden actions, “I can’t believe what you did to your customers with your $AUD deposit ‘debacle’. We don’t live in Zimbabwe or China, surely you saw this banking ‘crisis’ approaching,” he typed, noting the exchange knew prior what its reaction would be, and so it could have warned customers about a pending change.
“At the very least you could have given us a month’s notice so we could stockpile reserves for ourselves. I can see you didn’t want to lose customers to other services so better just keep mum about it and we’ll sell them a bullshit story about being bullied by the banks”, he raged.
At Commonwealth, its terms do reference bitcoin, “saying it can refuse to process an international money transfer or an international cash management transaction ‘because the destination account previously has been connected to a fraud or an attempted fraudulent transaction or is an account used to facilitate payments to Bitcoins or similar virtual currency payment services,’” noted the Sydney Morning Herald.
All big four bank spokespersons referenced anti-money laundering laws, various regulatory requirements, and none expressed outright prohibition on bitcoin-related transfers or activity. “A NAB spokeswoman said it was important to note the currencies are currently unregulated. ‘While we don’t support unregulated currencies, NAB does not deny the right of individual customers to buy virtual currencies,’” she was quoted by the Herald.
Bitcoin Babe, Michael Juric, is having none of it. She told the Herald she’s “had business accounts closed by 30 banks and posted a picture of a letter from ANZ, saying it was closing her accounts effective 30 January 2018 in accordance with its terms and conditions.” She shared ten letters closing her various accounts, “with one saying she had received fraudulent funds, though none specifically referenced cryptocurrencies,” the article explained.
“She said banks were not the ‘be all and end all of accepting payments’ for Bitcoin and there were other avenues to transfer funds.”
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