As Bitcoin businesses and exchanges contend with banks closing their accounts in China and elsewhere, Bitcoin traders in Australia are now encountering the same treatment. The National Australia Bank (NAB), one of Australia’s largest financial institutions, plans to close down accounts held by individuals trading in Bitcoin, citing an “unacceptable level of risk” posed by their activities. It told affected clients via a letter:
“NAB has recently conducted a review of businesses that trade in digital currencies and has determined that digital currency providers pose an unacceptable level of risk, both to our business and reputation…As a result of this review, NAB has decided to stop providing banking services to you and will close your accounts, effective 2nd May 2014.”
The effective date of closure isn’t too far off from the April 15th date reportedly set by the People’s Bank of China for the closure of Bitcoin-related bank accounts.
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Some crypto traders are becoming increasingly wary of their banks doing the same outside of Australia. One redditor posted how he had been using Coinbase to purchase bitcoins for about 2 months. Chase Bank first placed his account under “restricted” access and then decided to close it entirely, ending their 10+ year relationship with their client. They categorized “Coinbase” as an “illegal gambling site” and considered accounts interacting with them as “high risk”.
Conversely, someone commented on the same post how he withdrew $12k in cash, took it to the post office, bought 12 money orders and sent them overnight to CampBX. He bought bitcoins, sold them for $25k and had them deposited into his Chase account. Chase “never said a word”. He even boasted to the tellers at the time how the funds were for Bitcoin and how prices are going up like crazy.
Perhaps it wasn’t quite as notorious among the banks until recently, after its big rise last fall.