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Cryptocurrency Platforms Denied Service by Chilean Banks, Firms Ask For Regulatory Guidance

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On Thursday, Chilean media reported that BancoEstado will close an account belonging to Orionx. This follows similar reports about cryptocurrency platforms BUDA and Crypto MKT, which together called for regulatory clarification through an open letter.

In nine days, BancoEstado – the last Chilean bank supporting cryptocurrencytrading platforms – will close the account of cryptocurrency exchange Orionx.

“We hereby inform you that BancoEstado has decided to close the account of which you are the owner, in accordance with the power provided in the Accounts Contract,” the bank wrote in a notice, according to El Mercurio On-Line (Spanish).

BancoEstado said that it has decided “for now, not to operate with companies that are dedicated to the issuance or creation, brokerage, intermediation or serve as a platform for cryptocurrencies.

Earlier this week, Chilean cryptocurrency trading services BUDA and CryptoMKT, which primarily facilitate the trade of bitcoin and Etherrespectively, also had their bank accounts closed, per PULSO, a Chilean business publication. Banco Itaú Chile (a subsidiary of a Brazilian bank) shut down BUDA’s account, while Scotiabank Chile closed down CryptoMKT’s account, according to La Segunda.

The founder of BUDA, Guillermo Torrealba, said, “They’ve demonized cryptocurrencies because they don’t understand the technology.” He added, “It’s important that as a country and industry, we have guidelines to grow the cryptocurrency market in a healthy and legally compliant manner.”

BUDA and CryptoMKT said that a third bank (which has not been identified) told them that it had been directed to “not open accounts for anyone who has a relationship with cryptocurrencies.”

Later, BUDA and CryptoMKT published a joint letter requesting clarification from the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions of Chile (ABIF).

BUDA and Crypto MKT contended that they both pay value-added tax (VAT). The platforms also said that they are registered with the Chilean Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) and are compliant with the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).

Thus far, ABIF has not responded to the joint letter.

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