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Indian banks put crypto traders’ accounts under the microscope

Cryptocurrency traders and investors in India are among the latest casualties in an increasing trend of personal account closures by global banking operations.

India’s parliament is currently contemplating a nation-wide crypto ban which local industry critics like former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan have compared to “banning the internet for five years.”

The Economic Times reports that customers of private banks in India, such as HDFC, HSBC and Citi, have been receiving notices during this year asking them to clarify crypto-related transactions, often requiring them to visit their local bank branch in person. If such clarification is not received, accounts are at risk of being suspended or seized. One letter to an affected customer stated:

“To comply with the regulatory guidelines, banks are advised to exercise due diligence by closely examining the transactions carried out in the account on an ongoing basis to caution users, holders and traders of virtual currencies including Bitcoins regarding risks.”

As reported by Cointelegraph, India’s parliament is expected to enact a new bill that will further restrict the financial activities of traders, and prominent members of the Indian cryptocurrency community have spoken up against it. Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of India-based exchange Unocoin, thinks that a move in the opposite direction is needed to encourage growth of the fintech space in his country. “With crypto by her side,” he stated, “the country can bank the massive unbanked population.”

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