Thursday, November 30, 2023

Bitcoin Policy UK has called upon the British government to reevaluate Chase Bank’s decision to decline all cryptocurrency payments. The crypto advocacy group pointed out that this stance contradicts the government’s goal of establishing the UK as a cryptocurrency asset hub.

On September 28, Bitcoin Policy UK sent a letter to Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith MP expressing concerns about Chase Bank’s new policy to block all crypto-related payments. Chase Bank operates under the registered trademark and trading name of J.P. Morgan Europe Ltd. Last week, the British bank informed its UK customers that it would no longer accept cryptocurrency-related transactions, effective from October 16.

The crypto advocacy group’s letter states:

“We write to express our deep concern regarding the recent decision by Chase Bank to decline customer payments relating to crypto assets. It is, of course, the stated policy of this Government that the U.K. become a crypto asset hub, but it is hard to square this policy aim with the actions of this U.K.-regulated bank.”

This move by Chase Bank appears at odds with the vision of Britain’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, who declared in April of the previous year, “It’s my ambition to make the U.K. a global hub for crypto asset technology,” while serving as the country’s Chancellor of the Exchequer.

In its letter, Bitcoin Policy UK also referenced Chief Secretary to the Treasury John Glen MP, the former Economic Secretary to the Treasury, who in April of the same year emphasized the British government’s aspiration for the UK to be “a global hub—the very best place in the world to start and scale crypto-companies.” The letter further noted that less than nine months later, Andrew Griffith himself had proposed regulations for crypto assets and reiterated the government’s commitment to economic growth, technological advancement, and innovation, including “crypto asset technology.”

The crypto advocacy group underlined that the purchase, ownership, and sale of crypto assets are lawful activities in the UK, with most crypto asset service providers being regulated. They stated:

“It is alarming on many fronts to witness a bank such as Chase, regulated by the FCA and the PRA, deciding arbitrarily to prevent its customers from spending their money in a lawful way and in a sector that is clearly supported both as a matter of Government policy and increasingly regulated by the same bodies that regulate that bank itself.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the principal financial regulator in the UK, while the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) prudentially oversees financial services firms.

Additionally, Bitcoin Policy UK contested Chase’s claim that the crypto sector is more susceptible to fraud than other sectors, citing data from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. Chase had justified its policy change as a measure to protect customers from fraud and scams.

The crypto advocacy group voiced further concerns about Chase’s decision, stating that it contributes to a worrisome trend in the UK of financial censorship and the restriction of financial freedom. They argued that UK citizens should have the right to use their own money freely for lawful purposes.

In conclusion, Bitcoin Policy UK’s letter emphasized:

“In short, this is an arbitrary and capricious policy decision made by a bank subject to U.K. regulation, that will prevent U.K. citizens from spending their money lawfully and as they see fit. It is a highly questionable step for a U.K.-regulated bank to take, and we urge the Minister and the Government to review this decision, particularly in light of the stated policy aims of this Government.”

Last week, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also criticized Chase’s anti-crypto policy, urging the bank’s customers to consider closing their accounts.

The question remains: Will Chase Bank reconsider its decision to decline crypto transactions? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Crypto Payment Policy

Why did Chase Bank decide to decline all crypto payments?

Chase Bank cited the reason for its decision to decline all crypto payments as a measure to protect its customers from fraud and scams.

How does this decision align with the UK government’s crypto asset hub ambition?

Bitcoin Policy UK raised concerns about the inconsistency between Chase Bank’s decision and the UK government’s ambition to establish the UK as a global hub for crypto asset technology.

What regulatory bodies oversee Chase Bank’s actions in the UK?

Chase Bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK.

Is owning and transacting in cryptocurrencies legal in the UK?

Yes, the purchase, ownership, and sale of cryptocurrencies are lawful activities in the UK, and many crypto exchanges are regulated.

How did other industry leaders react to Chase Bank’s anti-crypto policy?

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong criticized Chase Bank’s decision, urging the bank’s customers to consider closing their accounts in protest.

What is Bitcoin Policy UK calling for in response to Chase Bank’s decision?

Bitcoin Policy UK is calling for the UK government to review Chase Bank’s decision, particularly in light of the government’s stated policy aims to support crypto asset technology and innovation.

More about Crypto Payment Policy


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