Chase UK, a subsidiary of JPMorgan, has announced that it will no longer allow its customers to purchase cryptocurrencies using its debit cards or through bank transfers. The move is said to be motivated by concerns over the risk of fraud to customers, as data shows that fraud related to digital currencies has been increasing. This decision has been criticized by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, who argues that private companies should not have the power to “de-platform” the crypto industry. Armstrong suggests that the UK government should pay attention to Chase UK’s ban, while noting the country’s aspirations to become a “Web3 and crypto hub.”
Chase UK is not the only British lender to have taken such measures. NatWest has placed limits on cash sent to crypto exchanges, while HSBC has completely banned crypto purchases. The concerns over fraud leading to these decisions are supported by data from Action Fraud, the UK fraud reporting agency, which shows that losses to crypto fraud in the country have increased by over 40% in the past year. Despite the association of cryptocurrencies with illicit activities, proponents argue that the industry has matured and can be a legitimate part of everyday payments and trading.
The UK government has been working to develop legislation to regulate retail trading in crypto assets, with the aim of bringing crypto assets into the regulatory fold. However, there is currently no comprehensive law addressing cryptocurrencies through tailored legislation. The UK has expressed its ambition to become a crypto hub, but Chase UK’s decision has raised concerns about its stance. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong hopes that this decision will be clarified in the coming weeks and that the UK government will reconsider its position on crypto payments.