Bitcoin Businesses Face Bank Account Closures in Singapore

Rachel Rose O'Leary
Sep 26, 2017 at 13:00 UTC
NEWS

Banks in Singapore are reportedly moving to close accounts tied to a number of cryptocurrency firms.

According to a report by Bloomberg today, as many as 10 companies have reported issues in recent weeks. Anson Zeall, head of Singapore's cryptocurrency and blockchain industry association, ACCESS, supported the claim, stating the closures remain unexplained by the banks. Further, he urged the country's authorities to take a stance on the matter.

"We would urge Singapore to take a leadership role and demonstrate how to come to an effective resolution among all parties," Zeall said.

However, any support may not be forthcoming.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country's central bank, told Bloomberg that it doesn't interfere with commercial decisions taken by individual banks. The central bank added it was the responsibility of the banks in question to establish operational protocols to ensure they comply with fraud protection and customer due-diligence laws.

CoinHako, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency provider announced the closure of its DBS Bank account in a blog post.

While it did not state a reason for the bank's decision, it said: "Regulations and the exact role of the blockchain in society continues to present as a grey area to everyone." 

The exchange told customers it will not be able to process Singapore dollar deposits and withdrawals until a new bank account can be opened – a process it expects to take several weeks.

The account closures come soon after the MAS issued a release stating that digital tokens, distinguished from cryptocurrencies, may be classified as securities. The release was followed by another statement which warned customers about the risks of investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The central bank has, however, shown enthusiasm for digital currency technology in other areas, completing a distributed ledger trial focused on inter-bank payments back in March.

Singapore image via Shutterstock

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