Banking Customers Associated With Crypto Victimized By Banks
For quite some time, financial institutions in Venezuela have started to come after crypto owners. They are not happy with the growing adoption rate of cryptocurrencies in the country.
Most importantly, they are unhappy about the fact that people who were once their clients only have added crypto providers to their services as well.
The banks have been quite strict in dealing with their customers who also happen to be associated with crypto.
They are not taking the matter lightly and are taking strict actions against the customers who are found interacting with crypto.
For instance, customers’ accounts have been suspended without notice or intimation only because they had been involved in crypto transactions.
Also, the move made by the banks is very harsh but the strict actions are making it clear that they are not going to tolerate cryptocurrencies.
Within this year alone, at least 75 accounts belonging to crypto-exposed customers were suspended by various Venezuelan banks. It seems suspending bank accounts without notice or intimation has become a common practice.
75 Confirmed Account Suspension
Legalrocks, which is a local law firm in Venezuela confirmed the suspension of 75 accounts by banks on the same basis.
The law firm is considered a blockchain and crypto matters expert and has successfully represented many clients in the field.
Similarly, most of the customers who have been victimized by banks on the pretext of exposure to crypto, are clients of Legalrocks.
The firm also revealed that though 75 accounts have been suspended in some cases, banks have lodged investigations.
Banks Cannot Suspend Accounts without Evidence
A senior representative of Legalrocks, Ana Ojeda, argued that a customer’s exposure to crypto is not a valid ground for account suspension.
She stated that account holders use these accounts for sending funds into the exchanges or receiving them from the exchanges.
Ojeda further argued that such an activity does not warrant account suspension which is in fact an extreme measure.
She then clarified that a bank is authorized to take an action if it has evidence that the account is being used for illegal activities.
She suggested that if the bank finds out that the account was used for funding terrorism or criminal activities, then account suspension is valid.
Ojeda was of the view that without any evidence or proof, a bank is not authorized to take action of suspending an account.
Currently, Legalrocks is pursuing cases of victims with the banks in court litigation. However, under the existing rules, each crypto transaction that involves a bank must be approved and authorized by Sunacrip.
Sunacrip is the local authority that is assigned the duty of supervising the local crypto industry and assets.
If a transaction is not approved by Sunacrip then this would mean the transaction is invalid, unauthorized, and suspicious. Consequently, the transaction is subject to investigation by the authorities concerned, including Sunacrip.
Venezuelans Love for Crypto
Venezuelans are known to have a great appetite for cryptocurrencies. This fact was also duly noted by United Nations in July’s publication regarding ‘rapidly growing interests in Venezuela’.
The report informs that Venezuela is the third top country in the world in terms of adopting digital currencies.
On the other hand, P2P markets based on stablecoins have been thriving significantly in the country.
These markets have become so popular that a large number of local analysts suggest that this market will change the country’s dynamics.
They also believe that stablecoins have the potential of reducing the dominance of the USD against the national currency.
Usually, crypto users in Venezuela are using cryptocurrencies mainly for investment. However, over the past few months, a new lot of crypto users are treating cryptocurrencies for countering inflation.
However, the local banks are rather strict than cooperating with their customers in their transactions involving crypto or crypto exchanges.