Breaking news from Australia: the country’s big four banks, including National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB), have decided to block payments to high-risk cryptocurrency exchanges and firms as a result of heightened scrutiny from Australian authorities. This move comes as concerns about the risks associated with crypto scams have been on the rise.
NAB, being one of the largest financial institutions in Australia, has joined the other leading banks in the country, namely Westpac Banking Corp., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, in restricting access to digital asset platforms. The primary motivation behind this decision is the increasing use of cryptocurrency platforms by organized transnational crime groups to quickly transfer stolen funds overseas.
It has been reported that crypto scams alone cost Australians a staggering A$221 million (USD $151 million) last year. In the last 30 days, almost half of the scams reported to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange have been linked to cryptocurrencies, which further highlights the urgent need for action.
Although NAB did not disclose the specific crypto exchanges impacted by their decision, they have labeled them as “high-risk.” One such exchange affected by these restrictions is Binance, which faced regulatory challenges in Australia earlier this year. Binance’s banking partner, Cuscal, terminated their partnership due to concerns about fraud, and Westpac banned its customers from transferring funds to the exchange in May.
Australia has emerged as one of the largest cryptocurrency markets globally, with billions of dollars in daily trading volume. However, the actions taken by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission against crypto exchanges have already begun to impact these trading volumes.
Amidst these developments, Monochrome Asset Management and Vasco have resubmitted the first spot Bitcoin ETF application under Australia’s new crypto regulations. This signals that despite the increased scrutiny and stricter regulations, there is still significant interest and potential for the growth of cryptocurrencies in the country.
the big four banks in Australia have taken a significant step by blocking payments to high-risk crypto exchanges. With crypto scams on the rise and organized crime groups increasingly using digital asset platforms for their activities, it is essential for financial institutions to prioritize the security and protection of their customers. While this move may temporarily impact the crypto market in Australia, it also underscores the need for stricter regulations and measures to ensure the integrity of the financial system.