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Consumer Protection Association Slams Bank for Blocking Transfers to Bitcoin Exchanges

January 22, 2018 |

Consumer Protection Association Slams Bank for Blocking Transfers to Bitcoin Exchanges

From Israel to Australia, commercial banks in various parts of the world have tried preventing people from entering the cryptocurrency market by blocking money transfers to bitcoin exchanges. Now the largest consumer association in Portugal has called out a local bank for trying to do the same.

Also Read: U.S. Rating Agency to Issue Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Grades Wednesday

Banco Santander Totta

Consumer Protection Association Slams Bank for Blocking Transfers to Bitcoin ExchangesDECO, the Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection, has came out against the actions of Banco Santander Totta S.A., the fourth largest bank in Portugal. This happened following reports by Portuguese clients of the bank that it is blocking interbank transfers to accounts related to bitcoin exchanges. The association has confirmed that the bank is acting in this manner as a policy, despite not having any known legal basis to support its actions.

Founded in 1974, DECO is an independent non-profit association with charity status. It is the largest consumer association in Portugal and has been afforded the status of ‘public utility’. Hopefully its position will help clients make Santander Totta reverse its policy towards transfers to bitcoin exchanges.

Banco de Portugal

Consumer Protection Association Slams Bank for Blocking Transfers to Bitcoin ExchangesAfter trying to make a transfer from Santander Totta to a Coinbase bank account in Estonia and getting rejected, a DECO associate asked the bank for the reason it blocked the transaction. After initially avoiding the question, the bank finally answered that the operation was not allowed because it related to a “virtual currency that is not regulated.”

The consumer association has determined this action has no legal support basis in Portuguese or European Union laws.

The Portuguese central bank, Banco de Portugal, said that there is no regulatory framework established in the country for virtual currency exchange platforms and its supervisory activity does not include actions related to this specific operational reality, essentially meaning that the central bank hasn’t issued any guidelines instructing banks not to approve money transfers to accounts of bitcoin exchanges. Additionally, at least one other Portuguese commercial bank, Novo Banco, commented to DECO that it has no current restrictions in place to inhibit these operations.

Should any banks be allowed to decide on their own that they are blocking transfers to bitcoin exchanges? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Consumer Protection Association Slams Bank for Blocking Transfers to Bitcoin Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Ethiopia refuses World Bank arbitration over Nile River dam

January 21, 2018 |

Ethiopia’s leader has rejected arbitration by the World Bank on a disagreement with Egypt over the hydroelectric dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.
FOX News

Cryptoruble Delayed – Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass Regulations

January 19, 2018 |

Cryptoruble Delayed - Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass Regulations

Russia’s national cryptocurrency, the cryptoruble, is unlikely to be created in the foreseeable future, according to the Bank of Russia. The central bank believes that it could be used to bypass regulations. Meanwhile, the finance ministry wants to use the cryptoruble for cross-border payments.

Also read: South Korean Officials Caught Trading On Insider Knowledge of Crypto Regulations

Cryptoruble Could Bypass Regulations

The first deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, Sergey Shvetsov, said at the Gaidar Forum this week that “The appearance of a cryptoruble in the foreseeable future is unlikely,” Tass reported. He elaborated:

I’m of the opinion that as long as the demand for cryptocurrencies is linked to a large extent with the bypass of regulations, it is clear that the regulator cannot afford to issue a cryptoruble, which will allow to bypass regulations.

Cryptoruble Delayed - Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass RegulationsThe bank’s first deputy chairman, Olga Skorobogatova, shared the sentiment, stating previously that she did not see the need for a cryptoruble.

However, she said that the central bank is considering introducing a supranational digital currency within the BRICS or the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC).

Cryptoruble for Cross-Border Payments

Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev told reporters at the forum that his ministry “supports the idea of using a cryptoruble in cross-border settlements,” Tass also reported. He detailed:

The issue on which to focus now is the use of electronic money, a cryptoruble, in cross-border settlements. Settlements with our leading trading partners, at least the countries of the former USSR, could be made not in a foreign currency but in electronic rubles.

Cryptoruble Delayed - Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass RegulationsHowever, Moiseev may not be referring to a cryptocurrency, as he previously expressed, “To be honest, I do not even understand what a cryptoruble is…I understand what an electronic ruble is.”

Early this month, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin commissioned work to create a cryptoruble as a tool to circumvent international sanctions. He first ordered the creation of this new currency in October of last year.

Cryptoruble Delayed to Mid-2019

In an interview with Hi-Tech Mail, the Russian Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (RACIB) estimated that the cryptoruble will not appear in Russia until at least the middle of next year. “If the proposal on the cryptoruble will be put forward in July as part of the president’s instruction, the normative documents will be drafted and introduced in the fall,” the director of the association explained, adding that:

They should be agreed at the end of the year, and the launch of the currency will take place in the middle of 2019.

When do you think Russia will finally issue a cryptoruble? Do you think it will be a cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Cryptoruble Delayed – Russian Central Bank Worried It Could Bypass Regulations appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Metropolitan Bank Denies Ceasing Cryptocurrency-Related International Wires

January 16, 2018 |

Metropolitan Bank Denies Stopping Cryptocurrency-Related International Wires

Just recently news.Bitcoin.com reported on the company Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp (NYSE: MCB) allegedly ceasing international cryptocurrency transfers. The bank is well known for being called the “Bitcoin Bank” and responded today to “erroneous statements” made by the media.

Also read: French Entrepreneur’s Case to Overturn the Bitlicense Dismissed

Various Reports State the ‘Bitcoin Bank’ Allegedly Ceased Offering International Cryptocurrency Transfers

Metropolitan Bank Denies Ceasing Cryptocurrency-Related International WiresThis week the financial publication Fortune reported on the company Metropolitan Bank and said the firm was not processing international wire transfers tethered to cryptocurrencies. The news followed the recent problems European users faced a week prior as some specific crypto-based debit Visa cards ceased operations. According to the Fortune report, a Metropolitan customer said the bank notified him and said it was “ceasing all international crypto-related wire transfers to and from.” Many cryptocurrency proponents thought that debit cards produced by Bitpay or Coinbase would have issues because they use Metropolitan Bank.

Metropolitan Bank Denies Ceasing Cryptocurrency-Related International Wires
Metropolitan executive Edward Nebb’s statement about the bank’s services on January 16, 2018.

Metropolitan Bank Responds to Erroneous Statements

On January 16:th the bank responded to “erroneous statements contained in articles that have recently appeared in some online publications” and stated that the company’s policies have not changed.          

“As a matter of policy, the bank does not accept cryptocurrency-related wire transfers from non-U.S. entities,” explains Metropolitan executive Edward Nebb. “This is a long-standing policy of the bank and remains in effect today — Last week, the bank sent out a reminder to customers of its policy against accepting cryptocurrency-related wire transfers from non-U.S. entities.”  

This reminder to customers is not a new policy for the bank and was not due to, nor did the bank experience, any “incident of international fraud.” The bank’s long-standing policy of not accepting cryptocurrency-related wire transfers from non-U.S. entities is part of its robust risk management program that is designed to ensure the safe and sound operations of the Bank in compliance with applicable laws, rules and guidance.

Metropolitan Bank-based cryptocurrency cards seem to be operating just fine, and users of both the Coinbase Shift card and Bitpay’s Visa services have not complained about issues. International cards issued by Wave Crest Holdings are still out of service which includes cards such as Bitwala, Tenx, Bitpay, Coinsbank, and Xapo.

What do you think about Metropolitan Bank’s statements towards reports about it ceasing crypto-related services? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Metropolitan Bank logo, and building and SEC archive. 


At news.Bitcoin.com all comments containing links are automatically held up for moderation in the Disqus system. That means an editor has to take a look at the comment to approve it. This is due to the many, repetitive, spam and scam links people post under our articles. We do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

The post Metropolitan Bank Denies Ceasing Cryptocurrency-Related International Wires appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Japan’s Largest Bank to Launch Cryptocurrency Exchange

January 16, 2018 |

Japan's Largest Bank to Launch Cryptocurrency Exchange

As bitcoin trading becomes the new mainstream in Japan, leading financial firms are stepping in to offer services to preserve their market share. MUFG, the largest bank in the country, is now planning to launch its own exchange, a pegged cryptocurrency and bitcoin segregated accounts for clients of other exchanges.

Also Read: Some UK Mortgage Lenders Refuse to Serve Bitcoin Investors

MUFG Exchange and Pegged Coin

Japan's Largest Bank to Launch Cryptocurrency ExchangeMitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE:MTU), the fourth largest bank in the world, plans to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange this financial year. According to reports from the country, MUFG has already notified the Financial Services Agency (JFSA) on the decision to launch an exchange.

The bank is known to be working on issuing its own cryptocurrency. The plan as it seems now is that by controlling the exchange where people can trade this MUFG Coin, the bank could suppress drastic fluctuations in its price so it can be used for shopping, settlements and remittances stably. The idea is that the new cryptocurrency will be kept pegged at around JP¥1, but not fixed in advanced so as to bypass regulations regarding issuing and transmitting such private money in Japan.

Needles to say, while MUFG only envisions its coin used to make stable transactions in Japan, once the cryptocurrency will be out in the wild global traders can use it for other uses as well. One interesting application is for it to be used in trading pairs on non-fiat exchanges instead of USTD, backed by the largest bank in Japan instead of Tether.

Bitcoin Segregated Accounts

Japan's Largest Bank MUFG to Launch Cryptocurrency ExchangeThe bank is reportedly working on another service for Japanese cryptocurrency traders, MUFJ Trust – will keep client holdings in accounts which can link to exchanges but without sending the money to their control. Similar to how segregated accounts are used to protect forex traders, this can safeguard client funds at the bank in case the trading company is hacked or goes bankrupt. The service will also monitor accounts for suspicious activity and uncommon transactions, which could get flagged for inspection instead of being processed.

The service, which will be available just for bitcoin at first, is expected to launch in April 2018 or as soon as the JFSA recognizes bitcoin as an asset that can be placed in a trust. This will be the first ever trust arrangement for cryptocurrencies, according to its application for patent protection. Enjoying the protection of MUFJ Trust’s would cost a fee, but “customers will feel peace of mind knowing that a trust bank is managing their assets,” said CEO Noriyuki Hirosue of Tokyo-based exchange Bitbank.

Should any of the new cryptocurrency trading services in Japan go global? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

The post Japan’s Largest Bank to Launch Cryptocurrency Exchange appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

China Central Bank Identifies ”3,000 Fake Blockchain” Platforms – Law Enforcement to Coordinate Against Cybercrime

January 16, 2018 |

China Central Bank Identifies ”3,000 Fake Blockchain” Platforms - Law Enforcement to Coordinate Against Cybercrime

This week China’s central television (CCTV 2) reported the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC), its Ministry of Public Security, in coordination with other regulatory agencies, will work to combat cybercrime often in the disguise of financial innovation. 

Also Read: Some UK Mortgage Lenders Refuse to Serve Bitcoin Investors

2,000 Tokens, 3,000 Knockoff Platforms

China's Special Campaign: Central Bank, Law Enforcement Coordinate Against Cybercrime

The People’s Bank of China, the Supreme People’s Procuratoratethe Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (The Five Departments) will join hands to combat internet financial fraud, according to CCTV 2.

PBOC is the mainland’s central bank, and currently is the largest bank of its kind in terms of asset holdings. The MPS is its national police force, comprising nearly 2 million officers. Financial innovation in China has come with a cost: darknet crime has grown more sophisticated too, from traditional phone fraud to more advanced financial crime. Li Xuyang, head of security and anti-fraud at Tencent AI Lab, noted that blockchain has become a trendy tool in financial fraud.

Recently, a growing number of projects would use the popular concept of blockchain to generate a new token, or a virtual currency. We have spotted over 2,000 forms of tokens with an active user base and 3,000 odd knockoff platforms promoting fake blockchain products.

Special Campaign?

The Five Departments emphasized that regulatory authorities shall cooperate with companies to fight against emerging financial crimes and boost a shared community of cybersecurity.

Vice president of the Ministry of Public Security Shi Jun said that they will initiate a special campaign to curb all sorts of internet fraud.China's Special Campaign: Central Bank, Law Enforcement Coordinate Against CybercrimeThe phrase “special campaign” has prompted rumors that the Ministry of Public Security might arrest some influential figures in the industry as a warning to others. “The cryptocurrency industry is filled with speculation and scams,” said a public figure with over 1 million followers on social media platform Weibo. “I believe this time the government will definitely arrest some conmen in the industry.”

China's Special Campaign: Central Bank, Law Enforcement Coordinate Against Cybercrime

At the time of writing, and perhaps unconnected, Bixin Wallet informed users that they will suspend over-the-counter trading services on January 17 because of “regulatory uncertainties”.

Do you believe that China might arrest some people to warn others? Leave your comments below. 


Images via Shutterstock, Weibo, CCTV 2


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

The post China Central Bank Identifies ”3,000 Fake Blockchain” Platforms – Law Enforcement to Coordinate Against Cybercrime appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Luno Exchange Bank Account Frozen by Malaysian Tax Officials

January 15, 2018 |

Luno Exchange Bank Account Frozen by Malaysian Tax Officials

Over the past few weeks, regulators and financial institutions have been reacting to the worldwide popularity of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In another regulatory-related matter, this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the trading platform Luno had its bank account frozen by the country’s tax officials.

Also read: Federal Reserve Chair: “Fed Doesn’t Really Play Any Regulatory Role” in Bitcoin

Luno Emphasizes the Company is “Working Closely With the IRB to Limit the Parameters of the Broad Request”

Luno Exchange Bank Account Frozen by Malaysian Tax Officials This week the exchange and wallet provider Luno (formerly Bitx) announced it is having issues with the Malaysian tax authorities. Created in 2013, the London-based business Luno has been providing bitcoin and ethereum to countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, the UK, and 35 other European regions. Malaysia’s Inland Revenue Board (IRB) froze the firm’s Malaysian bank account on January 13, an account that was held under its local business name ‘Bitx Malaysia.’ Luno explains to the Edge Markets financial publication that the IRB is investigating a case that involves tax discrepancies.

“As part of this, IRB has requested that we provide them with information on all our Malaysian customers: identification, deposits/withdrawals, and transactions,” Luno details.

We are working closely with the IRB to limit the parameters of this broad request.

Luno Asks Malaysian Customers to Follow Tax Requirements, and the Firm Is Supportive of the Central Bank’s Regulatory Measures

In the meantime, Malaysia based Luno customers can still trade bitcoin and ethereum using the national tender the MYR. “All your funds — local and digital currencies — remain safe with Luno and all other services remain unaffected,” the company emphasizes. Much like Coinbase in the U.S., the trading platform Luno also tells its Malaysian customer base that they should pay their taxes. Luno explains they are working closely with the banks in the area and the IRB to resolve the situation as fast as possible.           

“Navigating this requires everyone to work together to figure out optimal solutions to ensure the industry is safe and conducive to business — We are supportive of the recent measures by Bank Negara Malaysia to come up with reporting requirements for digital currency exchanges,” Luno states.

As set out in our privacy policy, we value our customers’ privacy and strive to protect your personal information. We will only provide personal information where we are legally required to do so and are working with our local advisers to ensure that any disclosure is consistent with our obligations to you, our customers.

Bank Negara Malaysia Has Proposed Strict KYC/AML Measures for Domestic Digital Currency Exchanges

Luno Exchange Bank Account Frozen by Malaysian Tax Officials The recent issues in Malaysia with the Luno exchange are followed by the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country’s central bank, publishing drafted digital currency regulatory guidelines for citizens and businesses residing in the region. The BNM had put the proposals up for public review, and Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) guidelines are highlighted. “A digital currency exchanger must declare its details,” says the BNM this past December. “The public is reminded that digital currencies are not legal tender in Malaysia,” notes the central bank. The trading platform Luno, which commands quite a bit of Malaysian cryptocurrency volume, seems to be the first victim of the central bank’s intervention.   

What do you think about Luno’s bank account being frozen by tax officials? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments below.


Images via Abd. Halim Hadi /Shutterstock, the Bank Negara Malaysia, and Luno logo.


Tired of those other forums on the subject of Bitcoin? Check out our censorship-free forums!

The post Luno Exchange Bank Account Frozen by Malaysian Tax Officials appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Metropolitan Bank Ceases Cryptocurrency-Related International Wires

January 15, 2018 |

Metropolitan Bank Ceased Cryptocurrency-Related International Wires

Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp (NYSE: MCB), one of the fastest growing banks in the United States, is used by a number of major cryptocurrency exchanges. But the NYSE traded bank has ceased all cryptocurrency-related international wires effective immediately, according to a Fortune report.

Also Read: Whistleblower Details Big Bank’s Plans to Prohibit Employees Owning Bitcoin

“The Bitcoin Bank” Says No to Bitcoin

wire transfers and deposits.A Metropolitan customer revealed that his investment firm received a notice on Thursday morning that the bank was “ceasing all international crypto-related wire transfers to and from” it effective immediately. The bank claimed that they could not verify the compliance of international wire transfers for cryptocurrency accounts.

Metropolitan Bank is referred as “The Bitcoin Bank” since it has been used by cryptocurrency companies and investment firms for wire transfers and deposits.

Digital currency wallet Coinbase is among one of the companies that uses it for wire transfers, deposits, and its Shift bitcoin debit card. As the bank hasn’t released any guidance on when it will restore the service, it’s unclear what might happen to the money that existing international clients have in the bank.

More Problems Incoming

Metropolitan Bank’s friendly attitudes towards cryptocurrency has played a role in its rapid growth. But the bank will probably lose traction with its move to shut down crypto-related services.

Metropolitan Bank Ceased Cryptocurrency-Related International WiresThe decision also puts the bank and the investment firms in a precarious position. Investors’ money will not be returned as U.S. funds are currently holding the capital when conducting business with the bank on behalf of their international clients. It also raise concerns that non-U.S.-based funds who exclusively manage international investors’ money via Metropolitan Bank will be forced to freeze or completely shutter operations.

But the Fortune report noted that MCB’s crypto customers will likely have alternative banks to fall back on.

What do you think of the sudden move? What are the reasons behind it? Leave your comments below.


Images via Shutterstock.


Not up to date on the news? Listen to This Week in Bitcoin, a podcast updated each Friday.

The post Metropolitan Bank Ceases Cryptocurrency-Related International Wires appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Bank of Japan’s $50 Billion Question: When to Stop Buying Stocks

January 15, 2018 |

The Bank of Japan, after goosing Japanese share prices with a $ 50-billion-a-year program of stock purchases, now confronts a decision facing many other developed country central banks: when to stop.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

Bank Indonesia: Do Not Sell, Buy, Trade Cryptocurrency

January 14, 2018 |

Bank Indonesia: Do Not Sell, Buy, Trade Cryptocurrency

Bank Indonesia, Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia’s central bank, has issued perhaps its bluntest statement yet on curbing the use of cryptocurrency, affirming a hardening stance on the popularity of what it refers to as “virtual currency” such as bitcoin.

Also read: Ditch University and High Transaction Fees!

Bank Indonesia Warns All Parties

Bank Indonesia Warns To All Parties To Not Sell, Buy or Trade Virtual Currency is the title of today’s missive from Bank Indonesia by way of its Department of Communications. It “affirms that virtual currency including bitcoin is not recognized as a valid payment instrument, so it is prohibited to be used as a means of payment in Indonesia.”

Bank Indonesia: Do Not Sell, Buy, Trade Cryptocurrency

Bank Indonesia (BI) is the Republic’s central bank, and as such it has been unusually active and belligerent with regard to cryptocurrency. Its governor issued statements late last year causing regional media to urge retail holders to sell back into fiat ahead of a ban. That followed Fall’s shutdown of bitcoin payment providers and businesses restructuring in an effort to get ahead of coming regulation. And just prior, BI had yet again reaffirmed its distaste for crypto, pushing advocates to insist the bank was denying a marvel of technological innovation. BI’s pronouncements have routinely contrasted with impressions on the street, as Indonesians do seem to have an appetite for the decentralized currency.

BI wants it crystal clear all obligations paid in money or “other financial transactions conducted in the Territory of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia shall be obliged using Rupiah.” Decrees of this sort appear to be driving Indonesians away from above-ground exchanges, for obvious reasons, and into more peer-to-peer arrangements such as Localbitcoins.  

Stern Reminder

Bank Indonesia: Do Not Sell, Buy, Trade Cryptocurrency
BI Governor Agus Martowardojo

“Ownership of virtual currency is very risky and full of speculation because there is no authority responsible,” the central banker continues, “there is no official administrator, there is no underlying asset underlying virtual currency price and trading value is very volatile so vulnerable to the risk bubble and prone to be used as a means of washing money and financing of terrorism, so that it can affect the stability of the financial system and harm the public. Therefore, Bank Indonesia warns all parties not to sell, buy or trade virtual currency,” it concludes.

“Bank Indonesia,” they sternly remind, “prohibits all payment system service providers (principals, switching organizers, clearing organizers, final settlement providers, issuers, acquirers, payment gateways, electronic wallet operators, fund transfer providers) and Financial Technology providers in Indonesia both Banks and Institutions Bank to process payment transactions with virtual currency,” citing laws and regulations.

Undoubtedly, BI’s 13 January 2018 reminder is to ride the wave of publicity South Korean regulators garnered by floating the word “ban.” Mainstream press ran with the passing idea, and prices regionally as well as internationally dropped double digits, and fast.

As of this writing, the country’s most popular exchange, PT Bit Coin Indonesia, closing in on a million users, remains up and running.

What are your thoughts about such pronouncements? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay.


Not up to date on the news? Listen to This Week in Bitcoin, a podcast updated each Friday.

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