Trouble in Ausssie Cryptoland?

It seems that there might be an increasing possibility that large financial institutions in the country of Australia are freezing customer accounts or reversing and rejecting charges that are related to cryptocurrencies. The general feeling or sentiment from consumers is that banks are doing so since they feel threatened via the cryptocurrency space.

In a tweet published by Nugget’s News Australia, there was a mention of various banks in the country of Australia who are freezing customer accounts and transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges located in Australia.

So @NAB @CommBank @WestpacNZ and @ANZ_AU are all freezing customer accounts and transfers to @BTCMarkets @coinspotau @GetCoinJar @coinbase. #Banks can fight it, but people want control of their money #ausbiz #auspol

Customers Affected

This seems to be an issue that is affecting an increasing amount of Australian cryptocurrency market participants and is something that has started happening relatively recently.

A few consumers on the popular social media site Reddit, on the forum /r/bitcoin, have stated that they weren’t affected, but others have made comments that are in line with the freezing of accounts and reversals of deposits.

“Anecdotally, this happened to me.

I transferred to BTC Markets on 23/12, received the funds back in my NAB account today 28/12 with no explanation.

Thank you banks for reminding me why I like crypto in the first place!”

Another commenter stated:

“This happened to me with poli, my account on btcmarkets was then lockideasand I received an email saying I need to direct debit the money back and my account will be unlocked.”

While another noted a gentle reminder, bringing up one crucial point, your fiat isn’t your money, even when the cash is in your hand.

This fundamental fact is one of the most influential reasons as to why many of the initial people who have stepped into the cryptocurrency industry from the early stages will be hard pressed to sell.

These long-term ‘hodlers’ believe that there is a fundamental value in having a form of exchange that can happen outside the borders of the traditional fiat based system.

The Australian Exchanges

There have been confirmations from Australian cryptocurrency exchanges in regards to these happenings. The Australian cryptocurrency exchange Coinspot mentioned that there is a temporary restriction on all forms of AUD deposits and this will remain in effect until at least the first week of the new year.  The exchange did state that in regards to AUD withdrawals, coin deposits. Buy/sell orders and trading on the platform will continue to operate regularly.

The exchange further stated :

“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.”

The exchange believes that as the appetite for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continues to grow that it may be best that everyone have regulation so that everyone can benefit.

Coinspot will continue to work to resolve this issue, by seeking out banks that they can partner with for the long term.

In regards to regulations

Their line of reasoning is that if there is a form of control, then consumers don’t have to go through underground means of accomplishing their objectives, as private ways may be unsafe.

This places the cryptocurrency community at a crossroads, can they continue to exist in this manner and must there be stringent regulations that may somewhat constrict their actions in the name of safety? It’s a tough choice, a fundamental aspect of the appeal of cryptocurrencies is the fact that they, to a certain extent, exist outside of the traditional financial markets, becoming an ecosystem of their own. There are risks within the emerging market but does one have to sacrifice the fundamental ideas of liberty and privacy in crypto for safety?