Indian Banks Suspending Bitcoin Exchange Accounts
Bitcoin exchanges are under fire in India,
as many of the nation’s top banks have suspended or greatly curtailed functionality on exchange accounts. State Bank of India (SBI), Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank have all taken strong action toward crypto exchanges, either closing accounts or severely limiting functionality. The banks cite the risk of dubious transactions, according to local reports.
The news follows the request of advocate Bivas Chatterjee who recently filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in Calcutta to impose immediate regulations on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance referred to Bitcoin as a ponzi scheme before the end of last year. The international mood toward Bitcoin has continued to tighten, particularly with US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin stating that the G20 nations will begin working together to make sure that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are properly regulated.
Bitcoin Laundering Less Than One Percent of All Transactions
A recent report from the joint Bitcoin analysis team of FDD and Ellicit,
a Bitcoin forensics company, indicates that less than one percent of all Bitcoin transactions involve money laundering. The report, written to help analyze the flow of funds and the danger of money laundering, has indicated that money laundering isn’t nearly the problem some critics of cryptocurrency believe.
The report states:
“The amount of observed Bitcoin laundering [is] small and darknet marketplaces such as Silk Road and, later, AlphaBay are [generally] the source of almost all of the illicit Bitcoins laundered through conversion services.”
The report also indicates that the vast majority of illicit transactions using Bitcoin were processed in Europe, receiving more than five times as many illicit transactions as North America.
AML processes must improve
The report suggests that the best way to combat such illicit activity is through more stringent anti-money laundering (AML) measures. The report states that the only way to manage the illicit transaction is for “Financial authorities in all jurisdictions [to] increase AML enforcement.”
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