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Chilean Court Agrees To Hear Cryptocurrency Exchanges’ Case




A court in Chile has indicated that it will hear a case brought by three cryptocurrency exchanges that recently had their bank accounts closed.

An appeals court in Chile has agreed to hear a case brought by three cryptocurrency exchanges, BUDA, Orionx, and CryptoMKT, after the banks servicing the platforms moved to close their accounts.

On its decision to terminate its relationship with Orionx, the country's central bank, BancoEstado, said that for the time being, it had decided "not to operate with companies that are dedicated to the issuance or creation, brokerage, intermediation [of cryptocurrencies] or serve as a platform for cryptocurrencies."

At the time of that statement, commercial banks Banco Itaú Chile and Scotiabank Chile had already shut down accounts belonging to BUDA and CryptoMKT, respectively, though it's unclear whether the banks' actions are the result of some kind of coordinated effort or government-mandated policy. BUDA and CryptoMKT both report being told by another (unnamed) bank that it had been instructed not to "open accounts for anyone who has a relationship with cryptocurrencies."

Though a court has agreed to take on the case, the exchanges' bank accounts remain closed for now. BUDA CEO Guillermo Torrealba said that the wave of account closures threatens to take cryptocurrency trading in Chile "back five years," to a time when trades had to be conducted over the counter.

In an open letter published on March 25, BUDA and CryptoMKT accused "a few banks" of "acting as de facto regulators and opting to prohibit all" cryptocurrency.

On April 5, the country's Financial Stability Council, which includes personnel from BancoEstado, the Finance Ministry, and other government agencies, published a statement warning of "the risks associated with the acquisition of, holding of or investment in" virtual currency.

Lately, some banks in other jurisdictions have also expressed skittishness around cryptocurrencies. In January, the Scandinavian financial services group Nordea prohibited employees from trading in digital assets, even on their own time and with their own money. In late March, Denmark's Danske Bank revealed that it would not allow virtual currencies to be traded on its platforms and discouraged clients from investing in the financial instruments. 

Earlier this month, Chile's National Energy Commission announced that it was launching a pilot program to log data relating to the country's energy sector on the Ethereum blockchain.

Translations by Google and the author.

Adam Reese

Adam Reese is a Los Angeles-based writer interested in technology, domestic and international politics, social issues, infrastructure and the arts. Adam holds value in Ether, Bitcoin, and Monero.

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