Several British banks have moved to stop customers from transferring funds to crypto exchanges.
Customers of Barclays, Starling, and Monzo have been barred from transferring funds to popular crypto exchanges like Binance. According to reports, the measures have been put in place to prevent crypto-related financial crimes.
Last year, UK residents lost over £60 million to social media investment scams, and nearly 50% of the said scams involved cryptocurrencies.
Representatives at Starling explained that the ban was only temporary. Customers will be able to transfer funds to crypto exchanges once additional checks have been introduced. However, no timeframe has been given to this effect.
Although the UK is not particularly anti-crypto, the Bank of England Governor Andre Bailey has continually voiced his disapproval of the asset class, referring to them as “dangerous.” As far back as March 2020, he advised crypto investors to “be prepared to lose all [their] money.” Earlier this year, he said that cryptocurrencies are not designed to last.
On the flip side of the calls for caution, crypto usage has continued to grow. Financial lobbyist TheCityUK revealed in a recent report that nearly 10 million people in the UK bought cryptocurrencies this year, a 558% increased from 2018 figures. The group, however, called for increased consumer protection. Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer of TheCityUK, said:
Government and regulators have an important part to play… They must set safe and robust rules for this burgeoning sector -- while ensuring they don’t inadvertently squash good ideas before they can mature and flourish.