‘Very costly side effects’: Blockchain Australia hits back at banks limiting crypto payments

The country’s preeminent industry body for crypto and blockchain technology said banks should educate their customers on scams instead of restricting access


Useacoin/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Blockchain Australia released a statement Wednesday criticizing Australian banks for limiting how their customers can interact with cryptocurrencies, saying that “blanket restrictions have very costly side effects.”

The statement from Australia’s blockchain industry body came after the country’s largest bank by assets, Commonwealth Bank (CBA), clamped down on crypto last week to protect customers from scams. CBA announced it would hold or reject certain crypto payments and that it will implement a monthly limit of $10,000 Australian dollars ($6,816) for customers wanting to buy crypto through exchanges. 

Westpac also initiated blocks against certain crypto transactions in May, forbidding its customers from sending Australian dollars to “high risk” exchanges such as Binance. 

Jackson Zeng, the director of Blockchain Australia and CEO of bitcoin brokerage firm Caleb and Brown, gave a harsh rebuke to these financial institutions for their actions. 

Zeng said this situation “represents a profound curtailment of economic freedom in Australia. Every individual has the inherent right to the economic freedom to make decisions on how and where to use their finances or allocate their investments.”

“The principal role of banks is to facilitate these decisions, not to impose restrictions upon them,” he said.

Blockchain Australia does recognize the risks associated with crypto-related scams that banks are worried about. The organization is asking banks to educate their customers instead of restricting their ability to spend their money how they please. 

Arguably the most important pillar of Blockchain Australia’s educational initiative is that “crypto isn’t bad, scammers are bad.”

Read more: Crypto is our only hedge against tyranny

“A robust response to hold bad actors accountable and to educate consumers in detecting and avoiding scams are the most effective response to combat scams and fraud,” the statement said.

Blockchain Australia is also attempting to bring banks to the table. The statement revealed its plans to host a roundtable discussion on June 27 during Blockchain Week. The organization said it will invite a litany of government officials, the Australian Bankers’ Association and major banks.

“We want to cultivate a shared sense of urgency and collaboration to protect those at risk of scams without losing the benefits of a growing digital currency industry,” the statement said.

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