Two Chilean cryptocurrency exchanges, BUDA and Crypto MKT, recently saw a number of banks in the country shut down their accounts for dealing with cryptocurrencies. In response, the companies decided to call on the country’s banking association, Asociación de Bancos e Instituciones Financeras (ABIF), to clarify its stance on the cryptocurrency industry.
According to local news outlet PULSO, the two cryptocurrency exchanges issued a public statement in which they ask the regulator to provide a clear stance, as the banks shut down their accounts while claiming they had instructions to “not open an account for anyone that has relation to cryptocurrencies.”
The statement further claims the financial institutions lack knowledge of how cryptocurrencies work, and questions why their accounts were shut down. The statement reads:
“The lack of knowledge and regulatory clarity has given rise to the fact that some banks, out of fear, misinformation or perhaps by strategy, are refusing to provide their services to anyone who has any relationship with any digital asset.”
BUDA and Crypto MKT further noted that it should be determined whether cryptocurrency-related companies should have access to banking services, or if the banks are “determined to prevent the existence” of these companies. In addition, the two exchanges asked both authorities and the public to pay attention to the issue.
Right at the top, the statement notably claims that industry is being “assassinated” before being studied. It notes both BUDA and Crypto MKT play by the rules, as they have developed safe platforms for their users, pay VAT, and have opened channels to cooperate with local authorities, while following standard anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-terrorist financing practices.
According to local publication Publimetro, ABIF has responded to the two cryptocurrency exchanges, claiming it isn’t responsible for solving the problem. The regulator stated that this “is a matter that must be addressed and resolved in the context of the individual relationship of each bank with its customers”.
ABIF further claimed statements such as those issued by the cryptocurrency exchanges are “especially serious,” as they can see people misjudge the association’s role. Martin Jofré, Crypto MKT’s co-founder, claims “the association can do a lot,” as what’s as stake is the role banks took in deciding what economic activities can and can’t be carried out in Chile.
BUDA’s general manager, Pablo Chávez, argued the move sees banks decide not to operate with companies related to cryptocurrencies “in an arbitrary manner and without a solid foundation.” Moreover, he revealed that “none of the banks in question has approached with doubts about cryptocurrencies.”
Santiago image from Shutterstock.