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National Australia Bank (NAB) Joins Crypto Exchange Boycott

National Australia Bank Introduces Payment Restrictions on Crypto

Commencing this Monday, National Australia Bank (NAB) will be implementing payment restrictions on high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges, potentially including Binance, as part of an effort to combat fraud and scams within the financial institution.

Major banks in Australia are intensifying their actions against digital currencies, as funds obtained through scams often find their way into cryptocurrencies, posing significant challenges for victims seeking to recover their losses.

Outside of National Australia Bank and credit card logo

This move follows similar actions by Westpac, which also restricted payments to Binance.

Commonwealth Bank has also taken comparable steps.

For Binance, this decision adds more pressure to its operations following a regulatory raid on its offices by the corporate regulator, amid a broader regulatory crackdown on the controversial exchange led by the United States.

You can find more details about that here.

Between March and July 2023, NAB suspended millions of payments and concurrently plans to impose restrictions on “certain cryptocurrency platforms” to protect customers from scams.

Although NAB did not disclose the specific names of the targeted cryptocurrency exchanges, Chris Sheehan, NAB’s executive for group investigations and fraud, indicated that the restrictions will be imposed on “high-risk” platforms known for their high incidence of scams.

You can read NAB’s statement here.

NAB’s head of fraud, Chris Sheehan, refrained from revealing the specific cryptocurrency exchanges the bank would restrict but mentioned that initially, the restrictions would apply to “several” exchanges, with the possibility of further expansion in the future.

He explained, “You’ve got ‘crypto exchange A’ that we have concerns with, and we’re not going to allow payments to go there. If we start to see, as always happens with these criminal groups, they pivot to start targeting something else, we can change our rule settings as we go.”

When asked directly about whether the restrictions would include Binance, he responded, “our approach is going to be consistent with the rest of the industry.”

In addition to the restrictions, Binance has faced the loss of its local banking partner Cuscal, which facilitated payments via PayID and other methods, and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has revoked its local derivatives license.

In their announcement, NAB reiterated the prevailing stance of local banks, stating that nearly 50% of reported scam funds in Australia are associated with cryptocurrencies.

The statement from NAB further highlighted the alarming growth of cryptocurrency scams, resulting in Australian citizens losing over $221 million to such frauds last year. The authority also pointed out that 40% of Australians expressed a willingness to accept slower payment processes if it meant having better protection against scammers.

While it is concerning that people fall victim to scams, questions arise about the freedom of the market. What about users who understand the risks and don’t fall for scams, using these banks to access cryptocurrency exchanges for investment and access to this technology?

Australia is lagging behind in the world of regulation. Let’s hope they don’t fall too far behind.


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