UK bank NatWest will limit payments to £1,000 a day and £5,000 a month, joining other prominent firms in restricting crypto purchases and transfers, The Block first reported.
In NatWest’s announcement sent by email on Tuesday, it cited “increasing customer protection against crypto criminals” as the reason.
“329 million pounds was lost by consumers last year,” the bank said, in relation to cybercrime and scams. Indeed, the year before that, £36 million ($39.7 million) was lost by investors to crypto fraud through Binance alone.
The UK invested £100 million in October to properly police the industry through a dedicated ‘task force.’ However, the police themselves were vocal in their concerns that it wouldn’t be nearly enough to stem the rapidly growing tide of crypto crime.
While data is thin, a study by security firm VPN Overview attempted to analyze which banks were handling the most cases of reported fraud. Google search terms for fraud assistance were highest in relation to Santander, NatWest, Barclays, HSBC, and Halifax, the study found and published last week.
Just like NatWest, HSBC, Nationwide, and Santander have all placed similar restrictions on crypto investors in recent weeks. Indeed, it’s been a tough start to the year for UK traders — Binance announced yesterday it would halt withdrawals and deposits for local users. While the exchange claimed less than 1% of its customers reside in the country, it’s a market Binance has unsuccessfully tried to enter legitimately for years.
- In July 2022, the UK government opened an inquiry into the risks of cryptocurrency.
- After FTX collapsed in November, top firms like Binance and Kraken were asked about their alleged involvement.
- In February 2023, the UK government announced firm regulations on the industry in a bid to crackdown on illicit finance.
It appears as though British crypto investors can expect more blows to come. On Monday, Coinbase alerted users their information was handed to the UK’s tax authority, regarding a fiscal year for which filing deadlines are long gone.