The struggle of traditional financial institutions against cryptocurrencies is continuing. The community regularly reports restrictions through banks and credit card issuers on their ability to sell and buy cryptocurrency. Now, the hammer hit one of the more prominent members in the crypto space. Fervent cryptocurrency supporter Andreas Antonopoulos reportedly had his Intuit account restricted for using cryptocurrencies.
The company Intuit Inc. restricted Antonopoulos’ account and disabled his ability to accept credit cards for his invoices. He was also told to remove crypto from his website. Not complying with the demands, Antonopoulos took to Twitter instead to inform the community about Intuit’s conduct.
On Twitter he reported:
“Intuit Merchant Services @intuit just told me that I can’t be using crypto if I accept credit cards for my invoices. They asked me to remove crypto from my site. I instead elected to remove Intuit and their credit card services from my life.”
This restriction comes off as rather arbitrary as Quickbooks, another business under Intuit’s umbrella, is supporting Bitcoin payments. It is currently not known, whether Andreas’ account was blocked due to Intuit’s general guidelines or because he was directly targeted due to his stance towards traditional finance.
Andreas Antonopoulos is a vocal critic of the current system who regularly points out the possibly grim future of banks and FinTech services if Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies prevail and gain major support within society.
In the ensuing Twitter discussion Andreas Antonopoulos further said:
“The banking cartel doesn’t want competition or risk. They prefer monopolies, kleptocracy and captured regulators.”
Wells Fargo and some exchanges impose similar restrictions
While a business is generally free to offer or restrict certain services, payment methods or do business with certain individuals, it shows that participants in the financial service system are completely dependent on third parties. Unless you settle things in cash and in person, a third party is involved that will have a say in whether you are allowed to do this or that.
Just in July 2019, it came to light that the major banking institution Wells Fargo does not allow its customers to use their accounts in connection with cryptocurrencies, after a customer had complained that his cards was not working on Coinbase.
A Wells Fargo spokesperson commented:
“Customers can no longer use their Wells Fargo credit cards to purchase cryptocurrency. We’re doing this in order to be consistent across the Wells Fargo enterprise due to the multiple risks associated with this volatile investment. This decision is in line with the overall industry,”
But it is not only traditional finance that places restrictions on your use of cryptocurrencies. Some exchanges do this as well and monitor what your crypto is used for and lock accounts. While this can be good for things like combating crypto fraud and freezing fraudulently acquired assets, it also means that your account could be locked for sending cryptocurrency to a crypto casino – even if it is legal for you to do so in your jurisdiction.
This again shows that, unless users have full control over their assets and transaction method, they are subject to third party rules, oversight and permissions.
What do you think? Should financial service providers be more open towards cryptocurrencies?