Sweden-based Bitcoin exchange Safello has informed its clients that its UK-based bank account has been shut down.
The account was used for its Faster Payments program, which allowed UK customers to make deposits more quickly and easily into the exchange. The program has now been disabled. UK customers will only be able to make deposits via wire transfer until a new banking partner is found.
The program has only been in place for just over a month when two weeks ago, the exchange received notice of the closure, effective today.
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In the company’s blog, CEO Frank Schuil says that the company was clear in its communication with the bank prior to having its accounts approved. “There was no base for the decision to shut our accounts down in relation to Safello’s operation,” he says. The exchange says to have gone beyond the letter of the law in its anti-money laundering activities.
It is possible that the bank chose to err on the side of caution, seeing that formal regulation has yet to be ironed out for virtual currencies and what it stands to lose should it be accused of non-compliance. He hopes that the current “Call for Information” will bring regulation closer, and banks will be more accommodating once clarity is achieved.
In order to preserve their relationship with the banks, Schuil did not disclose the bank’s identity, nor did he delve into further details of the closure. In the bank’s defence, “It is hard to take a stance as a smaller bank with the dependency on clearing partners,” he added.