After taxman, banks ring warning signals for customers investing, trading in cryptocurrency
MUMBAI: Indian banks have started pulling the plug on customers investing and trading in crypto assets as the spectre of government ban on cryptocurrency rises.
The government recently said that it plans to introduce a law banning trade in all cryptocurrencies — except for those issued by the government itself.
Top private and foreign lenders including HDFC Bank, HSBC, Citibank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have started questioning their customers on crypto related transactions.
In email communication to customers which ET has seen, some banks have asked customers to clarify crypto related transactions failing which they will be forced to take action.
“We have observed probable virtual currency transactions reflected in your account, kindly clarify the nature of these transactions by visiting the nearest branch within 30 days,” a communication by HDFC Bank to a customer states. “In case we do not hear from you, the bank will be constrained to restrict transactions in your account without any further reference to you.”
Most banks had either directly allowed or looked the other way when consumers started investing on Indian crypto exchanges following a Supreme Court order.
HDFC Bank, HSBC, Citi, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank did not respond to an ET query.
RBI had warned users of virtual currencies including Bitcoins regarding the potential economic and financial risk associated with cryptocurrencies and stated that it had not given any license to any company to operate or deal with Bitcoin or any other virtual currency.
Top banks had also suspended current accounts of some of the top cryptocurrency platforms following the RBI guidelines. In March last year, the Supreme Court quashed RBI’s circular paving way for Cryptocurrency exchanges to restart their operations.