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National Australia Bank (NAB), one of the “big four banks” in the country, has announced they will be implementing payment restrictions to “high risk” crypto exchanges–citing customer protection after a multi-month increase in scams.
Although NAB has only announced a new set of restrictions, it has not named which crypto platforms will be affected.
The institution has seen a significant uptick in payment-related scams, which amount to over $270 million between March and July, read yesterday's statement. This has prompted the bank to implement new blocks for customers looking to access digital asset platforms.
According to a press release published Monday by the bank, almost 50% of scams were linked to cryptocurrency activity over a 30-day period–claiming that cryptocurrency-related schemes amounted to $221 million in losses for Australian nationals over the past year.
“These scammers are part of organized, transnational crime groups,” said NAB Group Investigations and Fraud Executive, Chris Sheehan. “Increasingly, we’re seeing them use cryptocurrency platforms to send stolen funds quickly and often overseas.”
The “big four bank” group includes Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Banking Group–of which the first two are already taking steps to block payments to cryptocurrency exchanges.
Commonwealth Bank announced it would limit payments to crypto exchanges (also citing scam concerns) last month. That news came after Westpac–Australia's country’s second largest retail bank–made a similar announcement in May.
Despite the lack of clarity as to which crypto platforms will be affected, the increased regulatory scrutiny from authorities around the world point to Binance, among others. Earlier this month, it allegedly had their offices searched by Australia’s financial regulator, and in May, the platform had to suspend PayID AUD deposits–due to their third party payment provider.
Despite the news, earlier this year, NAB announced it would create a new stablecoin backed by the Australian dollar (dubbed AUDN) on Ethereum and Algorand. According to the Australian media outlet, FST Media, it successfully launched in March as an ERC-20 token. It is, however, geared for intra-bank cross-border payments, so is not currently available to retail investors, nor will be offered to corporate clients until at least late 2023.