It is not a happy time for Bitcoin brokers in Ireland. Reports indicate that Irish banks are denying financial services to cryptocurrency traders. As a result, many are forced to either shutter their operations or open accounts with foreign banks.
Irish Lenders Freezing Accounts of Bitcoin Brokers
Bitcoin trading platforms like Eircoin and Bitcove say that banks in the country have withdrawn their services to cryptocurrency brokers. According to a report published in The Irish Times, the situation has resulted in the shuttering of Eircoin’s operation in the country.
Dave Fleming, a co-founder of the company said that banks in the country were to blame for the closure of the firm’s business. He accused the Irish banking system of being “negligent and defensive.”
As for Bitcove, multiple banks including Bank of Ireland and AIB have closed its accounts. This situation has forced the company to seek overseas banking partners to continue its operations.
Peter Nagle, co-founder of Bitcove, expressed his displeasure at the current situation, especially with the reason provided by the banks saying:
The reasons cited have been that they do not support companies offering cryptocurrency exchange facilities despite the fact they had previously given us an account for this purpose.
KYC and AML Regulations
In response to the allegations made by the Bitcoin brokers, the Bank of Ireland confirmed that it doesn’t provide banking services to cryptocurrency exchange companies. However, the bank also stated that there is currently no prohibition against any of its customers participating in the market.
On the other hand, AIB denied the existence of any policy of refusing service t0 virtual currency brokers saying:
We don’t discriminate in relation to providing banking services to cryptocurrency companies nor have we been systematically exiting such companies.
Besides, AIB declared that it was incumbent upon it to follow all know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. The bank suggested that perhaps some cryptocurrency trading firms were not compliant with such statutes hence, the closure of their accounts.
According to the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland, lenders are at liberty to take the necessary steps to prevent financial crimes and terrorist funding activities. The Federation, however, denied claims of discrimination against cryptocurrency brokers.
A similar situation arose in Chile where banks in the country closed the accounts of cryptocurrency exchange platforms. This development sparked outrage in Chile, prompting a legal tussle. In April, the country’s appeal court ordered banks to reopen the closed accounts of virtual currency trading platforms.
Do you think that banks in Ireland are systematically targeting Bitcoin traders in the country? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.
Image courtesy of Twitter (@BitcovePeter).