Australia’s leading banking institutions are reportedly hacking space in the Bitcoin industry by hunting down their potential rivals.
According to a report of The Australian Financial Review (AFR), at least 17 Bitcoin companies in Australia have received letters from their respective banks regarding the discontinuation of banking services. The news service further claims to have seen letters from Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, informing the customers that their accounts will be closed, without further explanation.
The chairman of The Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association, Mr. Ron Tucker, complained how the banks are refusing to give any reasonable explanation for their actions against the local Bitcoin companies.
“Our members have been unable to obtain any formal clarification on the reasons for closure, except for references to policy or risk. Just what policies or risks these are have not been specified,” he told AFR. “The industry is more than happy to talk to the banks about their concerns. However, neither the association nor its members have been given the opportunity.”
The banks, on the other hand, have justified their action against the Bitcoin companies in a separate statement, saying that the firms are not complying with present anti-money laundering and counterterrorism laws.
As it clearly looks, Australian banks are treating their younger Bitcoin counterparts as business threats. We can notice how AFR particularly highlighted Westpac and Commonwealth Bank of Australia among the banks who are nullifying their partnerships with the Bitcoin companies. Interestingly, these banks have previously reported to have experimenting with the digital currency technology for their own future services.
For instance: Westpac has invested in the US-based Bitcoin company Coinbase. It has also partnered with a cross border payment company Ripple Labs with hopes to launch a similar product in Australia. Just a few weeks back, Westpac’s chief had warned the banking sector of the disruptive features of Bitcoin.
The combined action against the young Bitcoin companies, perhaps, has been taken only to reduce the potential competition. It is time when community stands up against such crony-capitalism to make space for companies that have actually innovated.