One Polish bitcoin exchange, BitMarket, became a victim of a shutdown earlier this week by BPH. When contacting BPH, they were told there were technical problems that needed to be sorted out. Upon further investigation, BitMarket found out they were shut down due to cryptocurrency activity was associated with their account.
The original text was written in Polish, but CCN was able to translate and clean up the text into an English transcription.
“First [the bank] explained the situation was due to technical problems with the system, allegedly occurring in debit accounts [?]. Finally, the central bank’s legal department was able to obtain information that the accounts have been closed in connection with the activities of our company and exchanges in Cryptocurrency.”
According to BitMarket, the bank said a letter informing the exchange of an impending termination was sent. They verified the address, but they claim the letter was not received.
The exchange claims they have enough funds to recover from the loss, but it might take some time.
“It should be emphasized that our company has the financial means necessary to cover the balance of the accounts of all users, both in cryptocurrency and fiduciary currencies. Therefore, the payment of user accounts will be implemented correctly; payment in US dollars will be implemented with the help of third parties.”
The owner of BitMarket also took to bitcoin.pl forums and further explained what happened. Apparently, BPH practiced some crafty money management in order to find a loophole in shutting down their account so suddenly.
“Bank terminated the contract we carry out all accounts in a very elegant way – waited for the day when they are removed from the accounts of commissions (BPH is done once a month for all operations, transfers, etc. – the bill then descends fairly large amount), and right after downloading the commission, when the balance was negative for the moment, said that the express agreement because of overdraft accounts. The fact that the next day as always complement, is a small flaw, because it was simply an excuse to terminate all contracts.”
According to a letter sent to Niebezpiecznik, Bank Zachodni WBK (BZ WBK) is terminating accounts as well.
It’s important to mention that cryptocurrency such as bitcoin is not illegal in Poland. It’s currently a legal grey area, just as it is in many countries around the world.
According to Niebezpiecznik, BZ WBK sees this as an opportunity to shut down activity before it grows. The director of BZ WBZ was quoted using the legal grey area to their advantage.
“Bitcoin rotation (…) is not covered by the unambiguous provisions of Polish law – there is no regulation on the Polish market.”
The question is changing from whether or not banks will coexist with bitcoin to how long before they actively combat it? It’s clear that both BPH and BZ WBK don’t want any association with cryptocurrency, and it’s unfortunate that they decided to take it out unexpectedly on BitMarket and a customer.
Surely notice and a lengthy discussion would help both organizations to benefit and find an alternative, or a simply easier, route.
Photographs from Niebezpiecznik and Wikimedia Commons.