Cryptocurrency companies have appealed to a special committee of the Australian Senate with complaints about denial of service by banks without explaining the reasons.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, two cryptocurrency exchanges – Aus Merchant and Bitcoin Babe – have repeatedly denied banking services without explanation from financial institutions. Their leaders spoke at a meeting of the ad hoc committee of the Australian upper house of parliament, “Australia as a technology and financial center”, held on Wednesday.
Michael Minassian, regional chief executive of international payments company Nium, said Australia was the only jurisdiction out of 41 countries where Nium was denied banking services.
The founder of the Bitcoin Babe exchange, Michaela Juric, told the committee that her company has faced bank disruption 91 times in its seven-year business history. In addition, Juric and her family were denied personal banking services, which affected their ability to receive basic utilities.
Yurich received no explanation for the denial of service from financial institutions, and that banks are taking an “anti-competitive” stance due to the perceived threat that the cryptocurrency industry allegedly poses to traditional finance.
“They don’t like the competition that comes from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” she said.
In an appeal to the committee, Yurich said she had received a rejection from the country’s largest banks, including Commonwealth (CBA), Westpac and the Bank of Queensland. Aus Merchant’s managing director, Mitchell Travers, provided the committee with evidence that four financial institutions had refused to serve his company.
“To my knowledge, it was a risk-averse and risk-averse attitude,” Travers said. “The reason was that we were not in the area of interest of these banks, and we were not given the opportunity to go through the advanced due diligence procedures.”
Senator Andrew Bragg asked Travers if the registration of his company in the Austrac government financial control system influenced the bank’s decision. Travers confirmed that he was refused despite registering with Austrac, and Jurich said a similar situation.
Bragg said the denial of services to cryptocurrency companies by banks could be due to the lack or low level of industry regulation. He asked firms’ representatives if strengthening regulation would help their operations and cooperation with the banking sector.
“Of course it is possible,” said Jurich. “Strengthening the regulation of custodian services is very important … on the licensing side, we have to be very careful because the technology is evolving every year, if not every month.”
According to a recent Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker poll, about 17% of Australians own cryptocurrencies. The total amount of crypto assets in the wallets of Australian citizens is estimated at $ 8 billion.