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UK Bank Closes Safello Accounts 6 Weeks After Entering Partnership

(@yessi_kbello) | Published on January 26, 2015 at 16:44 BST
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Six weeks after Swedish-based bitcoin exchange Safello announced rapid 'Faster Payments' deposits for UK customers, its banking partner has withdrawn its services and will close its accounts as of tomorrow.

Safello, which received the 14-day closure notice from the undisclosed UK bank on 13th January, said: "there was no base for the decision to shut our accounts down. Nor were we unclear in our communication towards the UK bank prior to getting our accounts approved".

Frank Schuil, Safello's CEO and co-founder, told CoinDesk that the exchange will continue to support international wire transfers for British pounds and that the firm would reactivate Faster Payments once a new bank account had been set up.

Faster Payments deposits were halted on Friday "to prevent any issues with people's transfers", he explained.

'Sign of the times'

In a statement, Safello said that it did "everything in its power to reverse this decision", adding that its banking partner was fully aware that it was a bitcoin company at the start of the relationship.

When asked about the potential ramifications of the closure, Schuil said:

"The community has been very understanding that this can happen to any bitcoin business at present time, especially those that are on the forefront of serving new markets."

Despite the bad news for its UK-based customers, Schuil said the team perceived the decision as "a sign of the times".

He continued:

"We will keep pushing forward trying to cooperate with the banks. This groundbreaking technology takes time to be fully understood and appreciated. Our market entry has given us the experience to ready ourselves quickly and effectively re-enter once that time comes".

Expansion in the Nordics

The news comes just as Safello also announced that it was entering the Norwegian and Danish markets.

Having spotted a space in the market, Schuil said:

"Norway has been a bit of a vacuum after Justcoin shut down. In Denmark there are more options, but we felt like our user experience could make a difference there to people who are new to bitcoin."

Schuil stressed that the company would continue to push forward in order to make local payment methods available to its customers, saying:

 "Sometimes this means a setback where accounts get shut down. Yesterday we announced we lost Faster Payments, today we enter Norway and Denmark."

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