Australian banks are now under investigation for their recent actions leading to suspension of accounts belonging to over 17 bitcoin companies in the country. The investigation is being carried out by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on suspicions that these banks might have acted deliberately to prevent competition from emerging players.
Many Australian bitcoin companies had received notices from their banks announcing that their accounts will be closed, without giving any reasons. In no time, 17 of these bitcoin exchanges reported that their accounts have been deactivated and their attempts to reach out to their banks to understand the reason for such actions turned out to be futile after the banks refused to divulge any information in response the queries.
Soon after the incident, bitcoin companies reached out to Senator Matthew Canavan who is an active proponent of bitcoin and digital currencies. Senator Matthews had in turn contacted the chairman of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims to investigate the allegations made by the bitcoin community against the banks.
Rod Sims, while speaking to Australian Financial Review has mentioned that his organization is currently involved in the investigation, which is still in its initial stages and it may take a couple of months before they can come to a conclusion.
Bitcoin adoption in Australia was gradually increasing in Australia, with merchants comfortably accepting bitcoin payments. But soon after the banks cracked down on bitcoin businesses, the number of merchants accepting bitcoin payment has started to experience a steady decline.
The crackdown on bitcoin businesses came at the time when the major Australian banks are considering ways to implement blockchain technology in their operations. Banks are attempting to include bitcoin technology to their operations to reduce fund transfer costs and counter the growing popularity of bitcoin as a preferred method of remittance.
The Australian banks have agreed to cooperate with ACCC investigations