A promising Polish Bitcoin exchange sees bank account suspension
Until recently, the Polish banking system went against the trend by offering support to digital currency businesses, and the future looked bright for many start-ups in this sector.
Other major European banks, too, were similarly supportive in providing bank accounts to bridge the fiat-related operations. Unfortunately, this has stopped, now that Bank BPH has suspended the bank account of popular bitcoin exchange BitMarket.pl.
The disappointing news follows closely behind the suspension by Handelsbanken of the bank account of Stockholm-based exchange Safello, who only recently had introduced a faster deposit and withdrawal method for UK customers.
This is worrying news for exchanges still needing the support of the traditional banking system for users to fund and withdraw their accounts with fiat to purchase bitcoins.
Until now, many European countries have been willing to work with bitcoin businesses; months down the line, however, these same businesses have had their bank accounts suspended with little to no notice. The suspicion is that, behind the scenes, government officials having been exerting undue influence.
Polish exchange BitMarket discovered its business account had been suspended on 26 January, but initial reports from the bank pointed towards a technical glitch.
BitMarket founder Michal Pleban recently told CoinDesk that BPH’s closure of the bank was sparked by an alleged fraudulent transaction flagged up at the local district attorney’s office.
By not providing proper notification to BitMarket regarding the closure of the account, the bank failed to follow normal procedure. This has raised doubts about whether the bank was closed for legitimate reasons, such as breaking the terms and conditions, or whether government officials are working behind the scenes to cripple the bitcoin industry.
The immediate closure of the account also caused deposit and withdrawal problems for BitMarket’s customers, as the technical section which communicates with the bank was never turned off, even though the account was closed.
I hope the recent spate of closures is not a sign of bigger things to come in Europe. According to an industry insider, if the closure was not to the result of a glitch, other exchanges such as CoinFloor, another exchange based in the UK which secured a Polish bank account with Polish PKO Bank, may be on the verge of no longer having a bank account.
‘I am currently on a quest to find a bitcoin-friendly bank in Poland,’ said Michal.
Corruption in the Polish banking system is well documented, and many smaller banks are run by the mafia operating on the fringes.