Exclusive: SWIFT payments network access cut to crypto exchanges
An extraordinary decision involving the global SWIFT payments network could have widespread implications on cryptocurrencies.
Asia Markets can reveal banks, including New York’s Signature Bank, will no longer process fiat currency transfers to cryptocurrency exchanges with a value of less than US$100,000 via the SWIFT network, effective from February 1, 2023.
The move will thwart cryptocurrency access to potentially thousands of customers.
One of the first crypto giants to notify users of the development this weekend, has been the world’s largest exchange, Binance.
“The banking partner that services your account has advised that they are no longer able to process SWIFT fiat (USD) transaction for individuals of less than $100,000 USD as of February 1, 2023. This is the case for all their crypto exchange clients,” said Binance.
“Please be advised that until we are able to find an alternative solution, you may not be able to use your bank account to buy and sell crypto with USD via SWIFT with a value of less than $100,000 USD.”
Follow Asia Markets on Twitter: @asia_markets
UPDATE: Statement from Binance
In a statement to Asia Markets, Binance has confirmed at this stage it will only be Signature Bank customers affected by the move.
Here’s the statement:
“One of our fiat banking partners, Signature Bank, has advised that it will no longer support any of its crypto exchange customers with buying and selling amounts of less than $100,000 USD as of February 1, 2023. This is the case for all of their crypto exchange clients.
“As a result, some individual users many not be able to use SWIFT bank transfers to buy or sell crypto with/for USD for amounts less than 100,000 USD.”
Signature Bank announced last week that it was in the process of reducing its exposure to cryptocurrencies.
Growing concerns about limiting access to crypto
Although SWIFT (an acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is the world’s most critical financial network – facilitating trillions worth of international money settlements daily – it is a somewhat secretive Belgian-based cooperative.
SWIFT was in the headlines following the outbreak of war in Ukraine last year, when the United States and its allies cut off Russia from the network.
Such was the significance of cutting off Russia from the world’s most important financial network, the French finance minister described the move as a “financial nuclear option”.
Why banks involved in preventing SWIFT transfers have moved to unleash would could potential become a ‘cryptocurrency nuclear option’ for millions who don’t have the US$100,000 minimum, currently remains a mystery.
One theory, however, is that it could be a primer to Central Bank Digital Currencies, with Europe’s ECB set to begin testing a digital currency this year, with a full rollout mooted by 2026.
In a recent Capitalist Exploits Insider newsletter by Hedge Fund veteran, Chris MacIntosh, a summary of restrictions that have been proposed by the ECB on digital currency movements was provided.
We note the ideas in the screenshot below are only proposals by the ECB and its members. None have been formalised.
“I’d say bugger all chance they manage to get this implemented worldwide. The world is bifurcating fast as we promised, and with this split comes competition. We are in a war where it’s being fought on all fronts, one of those being finance,” said MacIntosh in the note to subscribers.
“The fact is we’ve a world working towards more decentralisation (folks moving out of cities, for example), secessionist movements globally, and not to mention blockchain technology and various other decentralised networks. This is all taking place while Davos man is attempting to coral us into ‘smart cities’, digital currencies, and so forth.”
More can read from Chris MacIntosh on this topic in the Capitalist Exploits Insider newsletter here.