Major UK banks have faced criticism for implementing restrictions on their customers who invest in cryptocurrencies.
Nigel Green, the CEO of deVere Group, a leading independent financial advisory firm, asset manager, and fintech organization, has described these measures as an “outrageous, overreaching diktat” against account holders.
The comment comes amid reports suggesting that some of the country’s largest banks, including HSBC and Nationwide, have imposed daily limits for customers, restricted credit cards from purchasing cryptocurrencies, and even temporarily frozen accounts. In a statement shared with Finbold, Mr. Green said:
“Why have they decided to ‘step up’ on crypto but not in other areas where their customers may or may not decide to invest? It appears that some banks are using an outrageous, overreaching diktat against account holders because they are anti-crypto over concerns it poses a threat to the power and influence of traditional banking, presumably.”
Compares to Orwell’s 1984
Green argues that banks have no right to control their customers’ personal financial decision-making and that such restrictions infringe on their privacy, rights, and ability to control their own money.
“Your bank has no business telling you how or what to invest in, if what you’re planning to invest in is perfectly legal – which crypto is in the UK. This kind of control over people’s private, personal financial decision-making sounds like something from the pages of Orwell’s 1984 and goes against the values of Britain’s proud banking heritage.”
While the banks claim that these measures are in place to protect their customers, Green suggests that they imply that potentially illicit activity is unique to crypto and not the traditional financial system.
He also notes that institutional investors are increasing their exposure to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), with companies like MicroStrategy buying 6,455 Bitcoins over the last five weeks.
Mr. Green underlined that investors are attracted to cryptocurrencies for various reasons, including portfolio diversification, potential high returns, a hedge against inflation, and access to a new asset class.
The deVere CEO also warned that banks should not impose similar restrictions on other areas where customers may or may not decide to invest, such as alcohol, tobacco, energy, or political donations to parties they deem unsuitable.