The situation for Irish cryptocurrency companies does not appear to be too rosy for the moment with several reporting that they have either had to halt trading altogether or have been forced to open foreign bank accounts to continue operating. Some companies such as Bitcove are having to open foreign bank accounts to remain afloat after Irish banks have refused their business outright.
Cork-based Bitcove is particularly angry about the situation mainly because it had previously been awarded a ‘best-business start-up award’ by the Bank of Ireland. However, many banks around the world are hostile to the cryptocurrency companies in general, so the Irish bank’s stance comes as no real surprise to seasoned operators in the field.
Some start-ups claim to have been “unbanked” by lenders, meaning that financial institutions have withdrawn banking services. Other say they have never been given an opportunity to open bank accounts in the Republic which has caused consternation amongst those companies who wish to go onboard the crypto boom.
Bitcove, a bitcoin exchange established by brother James and Peter Nagle in 2014, said it had previously had banking facilities with AIB, Permanent TSB and Bank of Ireland. However, the lenders had since closed the company’s accounts without providing any reasons for doing so.
“The reasons cited have been that they do not support companies offering cryptocurrency exchange facilities despite the fact they had previously given us an account for this purpose,” Peter Nagle told The Irish Times.
“Particularly disappointing was Bank of Ireland. We were participants on the Ignite start-up programme, which is backed by the bank. Our business and its progress were reviewed monthly by a panel which included Bank of Ireland representatives. At the end of the incubator Bitcove won the award, but then just a few months later our accounts were frozen and eventually closed.”
The company has since found new banking facilities in Europe with what it called “a more progressive banking partner”.
Cryptocurrency companies refused outright
Eircoin, one of Ireland’s oldest bitcoin brokers was forced to close in April, with its co-founder Dave Fleming saying “we are being closed down due to a negligent and defensive banking system.”
Fleming and his business partner Roisin Coogan say that as well as being unbanked for Eircoin, a new secondary consulting business was also refused banking services.
In a short statement, Bank of Ireland said it does not provide banking services to virtual currency exchange platforms, although it added it does not prevent customers from transacting with virtual currency. This is quite strange considering that Ireland is home to several top digital and finance companies such as Apple and Google and is generally positive towards the adoption of blockchain technology.
Jay is pretty interested in the crypto space. He’s written for several publications on the topic and has lots of ideas on how the world can be made a better place with blockchain technology. He’s also a fintech journalist with some years of experience and enjoys writing about new startups, ICO’s as well as any other intriguing news that catches his fancy.