Adding to the pressures on bitcoin early this morning, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that bitcoin users across Australia are reporting that their accounts have been abruptly frozen by the country’s “Big Four” banks. And while the banks have remained largely tight-lipped about the closures, many angry account-holders are jumping to conclusions and blaming the banks for punishing them because of their involvement with bitcoin.
Bitcoin investors are claiming Australia’s banks are freezing their accounts and transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges, with a viral tweet slamming the big four and an exchange platform putting a restriction on Australian deposits.
According to the Herald, cryptocurrency trader and Youtuber Alex Saunders called out National Australia Bank, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation on Twitter for freezing customer accounts and transfers to four different bitcoin exchanges – CoinJar, CoinSpot, CoinBase and BTC Markets.
In response, some users complained that their activities with the cryptocurrency had still been described as a “security risk” by their financial institutions.
While not every bank had explicit policies governing their relationship with cryptocurrencies, according to the Morning Herald, Commonwealth Bank’s June 2017 terms and conditions for CommBiz accounts specifically excludes this activity, 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”.
A Commonwealth Bank spokesman said it was receptive to innovation in alternative currencies and payment systems “however, we do not currently use or recommend any existing virtual currencies as we do not believe they have yet met a minimum standard of regulation, reliability, and reputation compared to other currencies that we offer to our customers”.
“Our customers can interact with these currencies as long as they comply with our terms and conditions and all relevant legal obligations,” he said.
One Twitter user, Michaela Juric, who is known on twitter as Bitcoin Babe, said she 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.
The bank’s sudden decision to close the accounts of digital currency investors was not totally without warning: CoinSpot said it was putting a “temporary restriction on all forms of AUD deposits” that would remain in place until at least the first week of 2018 as a result of issues with Australian 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,” it said.
CoinSpot founder Russell Wilson said he was not aware of any new widespread issue, but was “monitoring” the situation.
“We are aware that on occasion banks will freeze payments while they clarify with their customers that the funds were not fraudulently sent from their account, this is standard best practice for the banks and protects everyone,” Mr Wilson said.
Meanwhile, representatives at the major banks offered some version of “no comment” to the Herald.
A Westpac spokeswoman would not comment on specific instances, but said it had controls in place to “actively verify the identity of our customers and monitor the activities of those customers”.
“Where we cannot verify the origin of transfers we may act to ensure we comply with Australia’s anti money laundering obligations,” she said.
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 said.
CoinBase, CoinJar and BTC Markets did not respond to request for comment.
While much of the carnage in bitcoin this morning could be attributed to the ongoing rotation into Ripple, it’s important not to ignore the impact of this news. If more banks around the world start closing the bank accounts of bitcoin users and bitcoin-related businesses, it could negatively impact the price as marginal buyers, worried about being shut out of the banking system, go running for the hills.
Outrage As Robinhood CEO Confesses To Elon Musk: DTCC Shut Down Stocks In Gamestop; AMC Surge
Did Congressional authority allow DTCC to help defraud middle-class investors buying Gamestop and AMC?
The CEO of Robinhood admitted to Elon Musk that the DTCC – The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation – halted trading during a call Monday morning on the Clubhouse app.
This is not the first time this has happened…
This appears to be Pet Quarters having the same issue Robinhood has today. When Pet Quarters took it to court, the courts said something along the lines of: f*** you, don’t ever come back here (citing technicalities).
Why did they win? Well, DTCC is given the authority by Congress to regulate despite technically being a private organization
There’s more – “To date, except for one case where DTCC’s dismissal motion is pending, all of the cases either have been dismissed by the courts or withdrawn by the plaintiffs.”
Every AG in the country should be made aware of these facts and open investigations into the matter.
Why does Congress get to deputise a private organization as eco-hitmen for the market?
UPDATE (2/3/20 5:09 AM):
(Reuters) – Robinhood Chief Executive Vlad Tenev is expected to testify before a U.S. House committee on Feb. 18, Politico reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The hearing before the House Financial Services Committee has not been formally announced, the report added
#AdiosAmerica: Republicans (with Democrats) Are Selling Out America to Corporations to Decrease Living Standards
Since the turn of the 20th century, living standards became an important, almost central part to the progressive and labor movements of those times. Now it has become a mainstream of both parties to sell out your labor to lowest bidders in low and high paying jobs. Low paying jobs are being taken by low-wage immigrants protected by Democrats and the high-end jobs are brought in by bi-partisan means, and greatly boasted by Republicans.
This effort has crippled the middle-class for close to 30 years now and with the job market being already tightened by the looming threat of A.I., importing more workers, whether legal or illegal is decreasing the value of labor in America for each and American Citizen. Corporations and Businesses, who rely on keeping employee costs as low as possible generally don’t complain about these practices across the board, why would they?
Americans have an increasingly difficult task ahead of them with the mass illegal migration at the Southern Border but also the legal importation of immigrants through H1-b1 Visas. These challenges will increasingly change the look, heritage of this country. There is no incentive for either Government or Business to care about reigning in immigration to the benefit of the American worker, the bottom dollar line will look better anyways.
Soros Newest Investor Of Tesla Bonds
Tesla looks to have a new bond holder and it’s none other than George Soros. Whatever this mean, Soros has also taken a stake in Crypto-Currencies .
Zerohedge Reports: Amid Elon Musk’s darkest hour in late March – as his stocks and bonds tumbled in price – it seems there was at least one other billionaire willing to buy the ‘blood on the street’.
According to the latest 13Fs, George Soros’ investment firm took a $35 million stake in Tesla’s convertible bonds during the first three months of the year.
As a reminder, convertibles are hybrid securities, either bonds or preferred stock, that can be exchanged for a predetermined number of common shares. That effectively lets an investor participate in stock-price changes, but with the yield and greater security of a fixed-income instrument.
The March 2019 Converts bounced handsomely off those lows – tracking the stock’s divergent bounce – but in recent days has fallen back towards the lows, catching down to the straight bonds record low price.