The Polish Bitcoin Association (PBS), a cryptocurrency industry group, has applied to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (OCCP) to confront the banks that block or shut down the accounts of crypto-linked firms.
It’s not clear if the antitrust authority has agreed to hear the case, but the PSB requests the OCCP to initiate an investigation into the alleged restriction of competition, to cease such activities by the banks and to impose possible penalties, according to a memo seen by Finance Magnates.
The Polish crypto community is worried that with these actions, the nation is moving toward policies seen in other countries, such as China, which has outright banned the digital asset class.
The Bitcoin Association explained that finding a banking partner has been a common struggle for cryptocurrency businesses as several banks seem to be implementing a blanket ban on the nascent sector.
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According to the PBS complaint, translated from Polish, the association has indicated “15 financial institutions” as refusing to open a bank account to 52 entities and “in other cases they closed banking accounts of 25 entities. The disgraceful list is kept by mBank, which allegedly made 9 refusals and closed 3 accounts.”
Not at the government’s behest
The increasingly hostile attitude of banks against the cryptocurrency industry was not established upon the government’s orders. Contrary to reports in the mainstream media, the Polish legal system has no regulations prohibiting the activity of cryptocurrencies exchanges, said the country’s financial regulatory body earlier this month.
The PBS statement confirmed this sense. It noted that “the effects of the banks’ actions described clearly aim at removing virtual currency entities from the market, despite the fact that such activities are legal and conducted with dignity. In view of the above, action by the regulators is necessary, and this notice and his requests are fully substantiated.”
Nevertheless, Poland has made localized attempts to regulate specific aspects of cryptocurrencies. While some of those instances are more concerning than others, none of it has officially banned the virtual asset class. Instead, the country has only taken a stance similar to other countries to regulate the emerging sector and to prevent its use for criminal activities.
What is clear though, the ban on initial coin offering (ICO) remains. In line with action taken in other jurisdictions, Poland’s authorities have recently launched a campaign to educate its citizens on the potential risks involved when it comes to cryptocurrency and margin trading.