Date: Friday 27th October 2023
Re: Access to Bank Accounts for UK Crypto Businesses
Dear Mr Postings,
I am writing as Chair of the Crypto and Digital Assets All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in relation to growing concerns that have been raised with me that a number of cryptocurrency and digital asset businesses are struggling to secure access to basic banking services and even bank accounts in the UK.
Over recent months I have heard from a number of UK based crypto and digital asset businesses who have told me that they are being denied access to basic banking services such as bank accounts and have expressed concern that this not only presents operational challenges for a lot of SMEs and UK start-ups but furthermore that this could be a significant barrier to growth and innovation in the UK.
Clearly we do not want to see bad actors in this space, but need to ensure that legitimate companies that are regulated in the UK have clear pathways to operate here and grow. Consumer protection must be a number one priority and must be central to the UK’s approach to regulating this sector. At the same time we need a proportionate and risk based approach to crypto regulation in the UK that does not inadvertently stifle growth or innovation in this sector for legitimate operators.
Our recent APPG Inquiry heard that UK cryptocurrency firms often struggle to secure access to UK banking services and a high proportion of banks have refused to provide bank accounts to cryptocurrency and digital asset firms even where those firms are regulated and licensed to operate in the UK. In addition, the Inquiry heard that a number of major banks have also announced limits on cryptocurrency and digital asset transactions over recent months.
These services are necessary for companies to operate regulatory-compliant businesses. Our Inquiry heard that this could be one of the single biggest barriers to growth and innovation that the UK has.
The industry has proposed that the introduction of a ‘white list’ of registered cryptocurrency and digital asset firms could be a potential solution to avoid the sector being cut off from the financial system.
I also recently chaired a roundtable with industry on this issue to hear more about their concerns and I am very keen to better understand the reasons why banks are refusing to provide bank accounts to UK businesses in this sector. I have already spoken with many operators in the cryptocurrency industry who are willing to engage and work constructively to find a solution to this problem.
I would be very grateful if you could write to me regarding what discussions UK Finance and your members have had with the crypto and digital asset industry on this particular issue, and for your views on the reasons why banks are refusing bank accounts to crypto firms and on what basis, as well as your thoughts on how industry might be able to work together constructively to find solutions.
Lisa Cameron MP, Chair of the Crypto and Digital Assets APPG.
Also signed by officers and members of the Crypto and Digital Assets APPG: