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Coinbase CEO Criticizes Chase UK Ban on Crypto Transactions

UK crypto

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has reportedly criticized J.P. Morgan Chases decision to block crypto-related transactions in its U.K. digital banking subsidiary, Chase UK.

Armstrong said that private companies should not have the power to “de-platform” the crypto industry, and suggested that the U.K. government should intervene and regulate the industry instead, CNBC reported Friday (Sept. 28).

The cryptocurrency exchange CEO told the media outlet he was disappointed with Chase UK’s decision, and highlighted the U.K. government’s desire to attract crypto businesses to the country, according to the report.

Chase UK told customers in a Tuesday (Sept. 26) email that, beginning Oct. 16, it will block them from making cryptocurrency transactions in a bid to protect them from the increasing number of frauds and scams associated with crypto.

In his interview with CNBC, Armstrong called for clarification on the bank’s stance and hoped that it was a misunderstanding, the report said. He added that the government should play a pivotal role in shaping the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies.

The U.K. government has expressed its ambition to position the country as a “Web3 and crypto hub,” per the report. This vision aligns with the efforts of jurisdictions worldwide, such as Dubai and Singapore, to attract crypto-related businesses.

J.P. Morgan Chase is not the only financial institution in the U.K. to implement restrictions on crypto transactions, according to the report. NatWest and HSBC have also taken similar steps, citing concerns over fraud and the misuse of cryptocurrencies.

According to data from Action Fraud, U.K. consumer losses to crypto fraud have increased by over 40% in the past year, surpassing 300 million pounds for the first time, the report said. The pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrencies makes it difficult for banks to trace suspicious payments, contributing to their association with illicit activities such as money laundering and illegal gambling.

The U.K. has been working on developing legislation that would regulate retail trading in crypto assets, per the report. The Financial Services and Markets Bill is one example of legislation that aims to bring crypto assets under regulatory oversight. However, it is not a comprehensive law tailored specifically to cryptocurrencies. Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith has suggested that the U.K. could pass a crypto-specific law by April 2024.