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Aussie banks are reportedly blocking some Bitcoin transfers

The Australian big four banks of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB), Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) are reportedly making it difficult for some cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

Coinspot, a cryptocurrency exchange, said in a Facebook post:

‘The temporary restriction on AUD deposits will remain in effect until at least the first week of the new year.

We assure you we are just as unhappy with the situation as you but unfortunately Australian banks have been so far unwilling to work with the digital currency industry which leads to frequent account closures and strict limits on accounts whilst they remain operational, in effect debanking our industry’.

News Corp (ASX: NWS) quote a Commonwealth Bank spokesman saying that “We can refuse an application for an international money transfer (IMT) if we believe that processing it would offend against any policy relating to money laundering, sanctions or the national interests or security of any state.

We can also refuse to process an IMT, because the destination account previously has been connected to a fraud or an attempted fraudulent transaction or is an account used to facilitate payments to bitcoins or similar virtual currency payment services”.

It does not surprise me to see banks taking a more active stance on cryptocurrency. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the government and regulators take a much more active interest soon. Australia is known as being one of the countries with the most red tape in the world for a reason.

Bitcoin had a reputation several years ago of being the currency of choice for drug and weapon dealers. It was a lot easier to transfer large sums of money using Bitcoin. Perhaps it is still used for that reason by some, although there are other currencies that offer even more privacy than Bitcoin these days.

In recent times it may also have been used by some individuals or businesses to transfer money across country borders to avoid transfer limits or detection.

Bitcoin’s previous reputation seems to now be affecting the average person who wants to buy into Bitcoin’s meteoric rise and hype. Australian investors may find it a lot more difficult to buy cryptocurrency in the future if these restrictions remain in place.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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