NatWest said it has “no appetite” for dealing with companies whose “main business” is cryptocurrency.
One of the biggest banks in the U.K. has announced that it will not accept cryptocurrency-focused business clients.
NatWest, which remains part-owned by the government following a bailout at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, considers such clients to be “high risk.”
While the newspaper said the announcement applied to any company that accepts crypto as payment, Friis’ comments suggest the ban may be more targeted:
“We have no appetite for dealing with customers, whether taking them on as new clients or having an ongoing relationship with people, whose main business is backed by an exchange for cryptocurrencies, or otherwise transacting in cryptocurrencies as their main activity. We think of cryptocurrencies as high risk and we’re taking, for that reason, a cautious approach to this.”
Individual account holders who buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will face extra financial crime scrutiny, Friis said.
A Hostile Approach
Friis cited the evolving and uncertain state of regulation in the cryptocurrency market as a reason for the decision.
Friis did not rule out dealing with crypto companies in the future, saying the bank will “continue to take a cautious approach, but we’ll watch how the market evolves.”