‘Nonsensical’ but ‘not a big deal’: Execs weigh Chase UK’s anti-crypto move   

The decision contradicts the country’s policy goals and the broader company’s blockchain-related efforts, industry exec says

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marog – pixcells/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Chase UK’s decision to ban crypto transactions for customers is “not a big deal,” an industry CEO told Blockworks. 

Still, it’s a “nonsensical” decision that goes against the country’s crypto policy goals, as well as efforts by the firm’s parent company, according to Jesper Johansen, founder and CEO of crypto service provider Northstake.

Clients of the UK subsidiary of JPMorgan will not be able to make crypto transactions via bank transfer or debit card starting next month, the company said in an email to customers Tuesday.

Crypto-related transactions, including wire transfers to crypto exchanges, will be declined from October onwards, a Chase spokesperson told Blockworks, citing crypto scams targeting UK consumers.

“Firstly, this ban contradicts the UK government’s stated policy goal to develop favorable conditions and a supportive environment for crypto businesses to set up and scale their services,” Johansen told Blockworks. “Secondly, this ban contradicts JPMorgan’s ambitions to scale its own bank-led blockchain platform and JPM Coin.” 

JPMorgan’s Onyx Digital Assets network enables the tokenization of traditional assets, such as US Treasurys and money-market products. The company used the Polygon blockchain to trade tokenized cash deposits in November 2022. 

Still, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has repeatedly criticized the asset class, calling bitcoin a “hyped-up fraud” in January during an interview with CNBC.

Caspar Sauter, co-founder of decentralized exchange D8X, noted that while Chase UK’s actions follow a trend in the banking sector, its approach “distinctly contrasts” that seen in other European regions. 

NatWest is among the UK-based banks that have placed restrictions on customers sending money to crypto exchanges.

Read more: Crypto startups find UK banks won’t give them accounts

“Notably, these limitations are not mandated by UK regulations but are decisions made independently by the banks themselves,” Sauter told Blockworks. 

Meanwhile, Swiss banks like Sygnum already offer digital asset banking services, Sauter added. State-owned Luzerner Kantonalbank shared plans to introduce similar offerings in the country. 

Germany-based Deutsche Bank said earlier this month it was set to establish digital asset custody and tokenization services through a link-up with crypto infrastructure firm Taurus.

“It’s anticipated that a majority of European banks will embrace digital asset banking services in the coming years,” Sauter said.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong called the move by Chase UK “totally inappropriate” in a Tuesday X post. He added that the bank’s decision appears to not respect policy goals set by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

Sunak said in an April 2022 statement that he wanted to make the UK “a global hub for crypto asset technology.” Andrew Griffith, the economic secretary to the UK Treasury, noted in April that crypto regulations would be finalized in the next 12 months.

“This move by Chase illustrates the size of the hill that the UK government will have to climb to deliver on their stated policy goal for crypto businesses,” Johansen said.


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