A British digital bank has temporarily barred its customers from depositing money to cryptocurrency exchanges over concerns about criminal activity.
“This is a temporary measure that we’ve taken to protect customers, having observed high levels of suspected financial crime with payments to some cryptocurrency exchanges,” Starling told Decrypt. “This is not just an issue for Starling, but for all banks.”
Starling said that it will reverse the ban “as we roll out additional checks specifically for payments to crypto exchanges.” The spokesperson declined to comment when the bank proposes to lift the ban.
However, the bank confirmed that only deposits from Starling accounts to crypto exchanges are barred. Customers can continue to withdraw funds from crypto exchanges into Starling accounts with no restrictions. Starling is a mobile-only bank launched in the UK in 2014.
Other UK banks have not taken a similar stance. Barclays told Decrypt that it has not blocked transactions to crypto exchanges.
And, contrary to customer difficulties reported by The Telegraph yesterday, Decrypt had no problems transferring money from Monzo to Binance on Sunday afternoon.
NatWest has since Thursday warned customers against crypto traders “promising big profits and offering to help.” The bank has not placed any restrictions on crypto traders.
It advises its customers only to deal with crypto companies fully registered or temporarily registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
Only five companies are fully registered: Ziglu (a crypto-friendly bank founded last year by Starling co-founder Mark Hipperson), Gemini Europe Services Ltd, Gemini Europe Ltd, Digivault, and Archax.
While a further 167 crypto companies have outstanding applications, John Glen, MP for Salisbury, on Friday told Parliament that 90% of all companies who have applied withdrew applications “following FCA intervention.”