Australian Banks Reportedly Freeze Accounts Of Bitcoin Users

Adding to the pressures on bitcoin early this morning, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that bitcoin users across Australia are reporting that their accounts have been abruptly frozen by the country’s “Big Four” banks. And while the banks have remained largely tight-lipped about the closures, many angry account-holders are jumping to conclusions and blaming the banks for punishing them because of their involvement with bitcoin.

Bitcoin investors are claiming Australia's banks are freezing their accounts and transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges, with a viral tweet slamming the big four and an exchange platform putting a restriction on Australian deposits.

According to the Herald, cryptocurrency trader and Youtuber Alex Saunders called out National Australia Bank, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corporation on Twitter for freezing customer accounts and transfers to four different bitcoin exchanges  - CoinJar, CoinSpot, CoinBase and BTC Markets.



In response, some users complained that their activities with the cryptocurrency had still been described as a "security risk" by their financial institutions.

While not every bank had explicit policies governing their relationship with cryptocurrencies, according to the Morning Herald, Commonwealth Bank’s June 2017 terms and conditions for CommBiz accounts specifically excludes this activity, saying it can refuse to process an international money transfer or an international cash management transaction “because the destination account previously has been connected to a fraud or an attempted fraudulent transaction or is an account used to facilitate payments to Bitcoins or similar virtual currency payment services”.

A Commonwealth Bank spokesman said it was receptive to innovation in alternative currencies and payment systems “however, we do not currently use or recommend any existing virtual currencies as we do not believe they have yet met a minimum standard of regulation, reliability, and reputation compared to other currencies that we offer to our customers".

“Our customers can interact with these currencies as long as they comply with our terms and conditions and all relevant legal obligations,” he said.

One Twitter user, Michaela Juric, who is known on twitter as Bitcoin Babe, said she had business accounts closed by 30 banks and posted a picture of a letter from ANZ, saying it was closing her accounts effective 30 January 2018 in accordance with its terms and conditions.

The bank’s sudden decision to close the accounts of digital currency investors was not totally without warning: CoinSpot said it was putting a “temporary restriction on all forms of AUD deposits” that would remain in place until at least the first week of 2018 as a result of issues with Australian banks.

“We assure you we are just as unhappy with the situation as you, but unfortunately Australian banks have been so far unwilling to work with the digital currency industry which leads to frequent account closures and strict limits on accounts whilst they remain operational, in effect debanking our industry,” it said.



CoinSpot founder Russell Wilson said he was not aware of any new widespread issue, but was “monitoring” the situation.

“We are aware that on occasion banks will freeze payments while they clarify with their customers that the funds were not fraudulently sent from their account, this is standard best practice for the banks and protects everyone,” Mr Wilson said.

Meanwhile, representatives at the major banks offered some version of “no comment” to the Herald.

A Westpac spokeswoman would not comment on specific instances, but said it had controls in place to “actively verify the identity of our customers and monitor the activities of those customers”.

“Where we cannot verify the origin of transfers we may act to ensure we comply with Australia’s anti money laundering obligations,” she said.

A NAB spokeswoman said it was important to note the currencies are currently unregulated.

"While we don’t support unregulated currencies, NAB does not deny the right of individual customers to buy virtual currencies," she said.

CoinBase, CoinJar and BTC Markets did not respond to request for comment.

While much of the carnage in bitcoin this morning could be attributed to the ongoing rotation into Ripple, it’s important not to ignore the impact of this news. If more banks around the world start closing the bank accounts of bitcoin users and bitcoin-related businesses, it could negatively impact the price as marginal buyers, worried about being shut out of the banking system, go running for the hills.


ImGumbydmmt ScratInTheHat Sat, 12/30/2017 - 22:12 Permalink

You let them take your guns! What did you think was going to happen next!?


Statistically speaking... genocide is what will happen next.

key quote

Truth They Cannot Refute

Death by Gun Control delivers the essential - and gut wrenching -- truth that the anti-self defense "gun control" advocates never try to refute. They simply cannot refute the facts or the formula.

Here's the Formula: Hatred + Government + Disarmed Civilians = Genocide

What makes the argument so powerful? Two factors. First, it makes common sense: unarmed defenseless people have no hope against armed aggressors. Second, it states the historical truth: evil governments did wipe out 170,000,000 innocent non-military lives in the 20th Century alone.


In reply to by ScratInTheHat

Escrava Isaura YUNOSELL Sun, 12/31/2017 - 01:30 Permalink

Australian Banks Reportedly Freeze Accounts Of Bitcoin Users

Great. It’s about time, because we don’t need another financial fraud. We have plenty of that going around.

Also, Bitcoin takes too much energy while having no use. Saving that energy is much more valuable.

And, money creation should never being in the hands of the private sector. Will the conservative goy ever learn?

"Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nation's laws. ... Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile." Mackenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister 1935-1948.


In reply to by YUNOSELL

Escrava Isaura kochevnik Mon, 01/01/2018 - 02:23 Permalink

Of course money creation, in a perfect world, should never have been on the hands of the private sector.

How can you tell?

97% of the dollar in existence was created by the private sector.

Now US owners, pardon me, US business, own about half of Europe, 99% of Americans work and/or somehow depend on them, and 98% owes money to them with interest rates attached to it.  


In reply to by kochevnik

rwe2late JohnGaltUk Sun, 12/31/2017 - 08:59 Permalink


Capitalism is all about restricting access to resources & markets.

What do you think private property and privatization of the "means of production" is all about?

Ownership of resources (land, water,minerals etc) along with patents, copyrights, and use of government to protect property "rights" all tends to arrive at concentration of wealth and monopolies.

In reply to by JohnGaltUk

rwe2late NoPension Sun, 12/31/2017 - 11:11 Permalink

 OK, I'll offer some possible grist for the discussion mill.

As some have said,

"Rome wasn't built in a day".

First step is to recognize the shortcomings of the present whether neoliberal capitalism or state-directed capitalism.

Next steps involve finding ways to minimize those shortcomings.

There has to be some trail and error. But personalities and beliefs can be a major problem for implementation of anything  (self-centeredness, xenophobia, arrogance, selfishness, lack of community, certain religious dogmas, ignorance about science, and so on).

The major human barriers to a better world are self-imposed, either individually or collectively.

Maybe it is beyond human capability or is too late in this world of increasing 7 billion for solutions which are pleasant,

either in the short run, or the long run.



In reply to by NoPension

NYC_Rocks Escrava Isaura Sun, 12/31/2017 - 08:54 Permalink

The Canadian comment is biased.  The state wants to control the currency so they can tax it.  Of course the prime minister is going to say that.  The Australian news here means the banks are scared.  And your energy comments is a fallacy and absurd (who are you to judge what energy is used for the - the market price determines this every day).    Want to talk about fraud?  What about all the money the central banks print (under their govt sponsored monopoly power) to bail out the banks and selected industries?  That's the fraud.  You've fallen into the class of the ignorant masses.  You have a lot to learn about crypto.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

swmnguy Escrava Isaura Sun, 12/31/2017 - 10:15 Permalink

Who knows, maybe the Aussie banks didn't want the frequently-hacked exchanges to have backdoors into the bank vaults, available to the first hacker.  I mean, I've enjoyed my share of marijuana in my life, but I don't let my dope dealer into my house and show him where I keep my shiny, for instance.

If a crypto speculator can't figure out how to manage money outside the bank system, that person is a fool anyway and is just a dabbler; not someone who has truly considered the questions of money and control and autonomy.  I mean, what's the point of crypto if you have to link to your fiat bank account?  That's like armoring all the doors in your house for security, but taking out all the locks because keys and combinations are so-o-o-o inconvenient.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

GoinFawr Escrava Isaura Mon, 01/01/2018 - 13:23 Permalink

For whatever reason, you got this all wrong EI:

  1. Crypto's themselves are not fraud, they are a symptom/consequence of it.
  2. Cryptos' obviously have many, many uses; I mean, come on.
  3. Energy is involved in trading/doing  practically ANYTHING. Do you honestly think any one of Goldman's HFT servers doesn't suck enough juice in a day to power your house for a year?

WLM King is rolling over in his grave at your gross misapprehension and red herrings:

  " creation should never being in the hands of the private sector..." alone,  EI, alone. You aren't seriously suggesting that a 'just' society can exist without BOTH private and public property, are you?


In reply to by Escrava Isaura

archiehicox macholatte Sun, 12/31/2017 - 00:49 Permalink

If NAB freeze my account for daring to spend my money my way at my risk I'll make it my mission to crucify them on every altar I can -sadly social media may have more traction than the courts.  I'm not without some means and won't sit down to be a sheeple on their altar.  Lots of Aussies once they realise their money is not "theirs" will join together....and this might be a wake-up call for them

In reply to by macholatte

A Sentinel VWAndy Sun, 12/31/2017 - 05:10 Permalink

Walensa was a very unusual man, but more importantly, he got a lot of help from the second to last Pope (and I absolutely deny that bergoglio is Pope—other story.) but John Paul 2 was instrumental in starting Solidarnosk as later Reagan and Thatcher would be in bribing Kádár to undermine Honecker.

I imagine Obama’s betrayal of the last freedom fighters in Iran by the greens, assisting Khameini to kill the leadership — and of course the air-delivered cash Barry gave them gives khameini a lot of juice to bribe any shaky military leaders.

In reply to by VWAndy

Is-Be macholatte Sun, 12/31/2017 - 01:22 Permalink

The Aussie sheep will go back to their paddock and graze like nothing happened.

Not an option. The Average Aussie Joe is tapped out and living on beans while sitting on boxes by candlelight in their McMansions.

Any disturbances will be catastrophic.

In reply to by macholatte

keep the basta… macholatte Sun, 12/31/2017 - 03:26 Permalink

They are fkn mongrels, those big four got bailed out by the Fed Reserve in 2010 and so did the reserve bank of Aust, known for scandal round its printing of currency for other countries... great notes can be buried, go thru washing machine no problems.

I got a huge lecture from a near illiterate (hard to get in Aus with our good education) bank employee warning me re  bitcoin, only wanting Your safety he said. They who hold our money, they got APRA to lobby the politicians a couple of years ago so Bank Bailins are law.

all you people who put down Australians, we are stuffed, and we know it, we are not stupid, the big four banks and mining scum dominate the Stockmarket, the preferential voting system buggers us when it comes for voting for whom you want because it's hard to stop your vote going to another negatively geared 20 rental properties  against its salary ugly POS.

in the USA you can get a ring in like trump or whatever, we struggle to get anything, meanwhile the previous prime minister scum would give bushes speeches the week before he did and so on. Buy your shitty planes.. not delivered... and submarines we have no use for... The govt has left the full bill against money laundering by property sit since about 2004 and not put it up to vote. We are flooded with immigrants the transport stalling in the cities and the govtbscum and the banks want more immigrants to keep the desperate demand for housing going.

any moment and the house of cards breaks.

And you forget we were an English govt prison camp with convict slaves when my grandmother was a child, its right thru, the structures were set up and my mother directly was affected by the next generation of the English vermin as a child. Very different to USA. 


In reply to by macholatte

Sirius Wonderblast webmatex Sun, 12/31/2017 - 07:21 Permalink

Just what actual practical difference do you think that would make? Evidently you have not heard of the Statute of Westminster (1931) or the Australia Acts of 1986. If it helps salve your need for ill-conceived vitriol, Her Maj can still exercise her powers in respect to an Australian state provided she is personally present in that State at the time of the exercise of her power - I imagine that must be a big worry for all concerned (not!).

In reply to by webmatex