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Chilean Court Orders State-Owned Bank to Re-Open Bitcoin Exchange Orionx’s Account

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:03 PM
Francisco Memoria
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:03 PM

The Fourth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago has recently ruled that state-owned Banco Estado has to re-open the account of bitcoin exchange Orionx, after it seemingly illegally shut it down.

As CCN.com covered, earlier this year Chilean banks Itau Corpbanca, Bank of Nova Scotia, and state-owned Banco Estado shut down the accounts of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges Orionx, Crypto MKT, and Buda in what was deemed a blanket ban on the cryptocurrency industry.

At the time, Banco Estado revealed it decided “not to operate with companies that are dedicated to the issuance or creation, brokerage, intermediation or serve as a platform for the so-called cryptocurrencies.” In response, exchanges took their case to an appeals court that decided to hear them, while their accounts remained closed.

Orionx won its case as the court noted Banco Estado made an “arbitrary and illegal action, which constitutes a deprivation of the right protect by Article 19 No.2 of the Political Constitution of the Republic, that is, the right to equality before the law.”

According to local news outlet La Tercera , the court found that “the plaintiff has been treated differently, because the deposit account has been closed by a policy the bank agreed to after the contract’s conclusion, and not by expressly agreed upon causes.”

The Chilean court added that “the closure affected the development of an economic activity not contrary to the law and that Orionx required the account to operate.”

Orionx’s victory is notably the second one cryptocurrency exchanges in Chile get, as in April the country’s anti-monopoly court ordered two major banks, Banco Estado and Itau Corpbanca, to re-open the accounts of Buda, an exchange that was seeing trading volumes of over $1 million per day before being shut down.

At the time, regarding the banks’ stance against cryptocurrency exchanges, Buda’s chief executive officer Guillermo Torrealba stated:

“They’re killing an entire industry. It won’t be possible to buy and sell crypto in a safe business in Chile. We’ll have to go back five years and trade in person. It seems very arbitrary.”

As recently covered Mario Marcel, president of Chile’s central bank, is considering implementing cryptocurrency regulations, which would give the financial institution information needed to “monitor associated risks.”

Featured image from Flickr/Wikimedia/Seba Flores .