Coindesk Logo

The UK Has Created Crypto Banking Problems

The UK Has Created Crypto Banking Problems

The UK Has Created Crypto Banking Problems

U.K. lobbying groups and lawmakers have been complaining that crypto clients can’t find a bank and are faced with restrictions, so they are calling the government to act.

U.K. lobbying groups and lawmakers have been complaining that crypto clients can’t find a bank and are faced with restrictions, so they are calling the government to act.

U.K. lobbying groups and lawmakers have been complaining that crypto clients can’t find a bank and are faced with restrictions, so they are calling the government to act.

AccessTimeIconMar 25, 2023, 8:00 AM

10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Many U.K. crypto companies are finding it difficult to obtain banking services because numerous banks are limiting their interaction with the sector altogether, crypto advocates said.

Following the collapse of the U.S.’s Silicon Valley, Silvergate and Signature banks, U.S. crypto clients have had to look for new banking partners. However, the U.S. is not the only country with companies experiencing this dilemma. The U.K. has created a crypto banking problem since as far back as 2021.

“Many of the major U.K. banks have now put in place bans or restrictions, and we are concerned that other banks and Payment Services Providers (PSP) may also soon follow suit,” wrote Su Carpenter, director of operations at CryptoUK, in a letter to the Treasury’s Economic Secretary Andrew Griffith on Monday. CryptoUK is a lobbying group advocating for digital assets.

People have also been complaining on Twitter that U.K. banks have been banning transfers to crypto exchanges.

Lisa Cameron, a member of Parliament and the chair of the Crypto and Digital Assets group, said in a statement to CoinDesk that crypto businesses have been unable to open bank accounts with Santander and NatWest Group, an issue she raised in parliament recently.

A spokesperson for NatWest said the bank does not “currently offer banking facilities to businesses [that] buy or sell cryptocurrencies. This is a rapidly evolving space in the U.K. and we keep our stance under constant review.”

“We make all decisions about onboarding new to bank businesses on a case-by-case basis based on the specific details of each business,” a spokesperson from Santander told CoinDesk in a statement.

Banks limiting crypto payments

U.K. banks have been pulling away from crypto in recent years. Alison Rose, the chief executive officer of NatWest, told the House of Commons Treasury committee in a hearing in February that the bank had been “blocking retail and wealth customers from transferring into crypto assets because of the volatility and the stability of the platform.” Rose also cited fraud as another reason at the time.

In March NatWest began limiting customer payments to crypto exchanges to 1,000 British pounds (US$1,232) per day and 5,000 British pounds ($6,161) over a 30-day period, to protect consumers from “crypto-criminals,” NatWest announced via email.

Many other banks have opted to limit crypto payments to exchanges in order to protect their consumers from risks. Nationwide and HSBC both announced restrictions on crypto purchases around the same time.

Spanish bank Santander, which has U.K. branches, limited transactions to crypto exchanges last year to 1,000 British pounds per transaction, while U.K.-based Starling bank said it no longer supports the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies by debit card or bank transfers and never directly banked crypto companies.

Meanwhile London-based Barclays limited transfers to Binance in 2021, the Financial Times reported.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.