Bitstamp has been making headlines during the month of January after their Bitcoin hot wallet was breached by a nefarious third party, and several bitcoins went missing. After a few days of downtime, the exchange once again opened its doors to the public, and trading seemed to resume peacefully. That was until a few days ago, when reports surfaced about several users’ USD bank transfer to the Bitstamp exchange bouncing or remaining uncredited.
Standard Chartered Bank No Longer Processing Bitcoin-related Wire Transfers
So far, 2015 has not been the year of Bitstamp, even though this latest issue with USD bank transfers seems to be completely out of the company’s control. Wire transfer delays are nothing new in the world of buy and selling Bitcoin through an exchange platforms, as banks seem to enjoy delaying these kind of transfers to squeeze out every little bit of revenue they can make from “holding this additional funds”.
However, once banks start bouncing USD deposit transfers, or leaving them uncredited for a certain period of time, things are looking way more suspicious. Luckily for all parties involved, the culprit has been identified to be the Standard Chartered Bank, who have acknowledged they will not be processing any bitcoin-related wire transfers from this point forward.
The announcement itself was made by the Bitstamp team, after they started a thorough investigation into the matter of their own once these reports started surfacing. During the first day or two, not much information was being made available to Bitstamp or other media outlets, but that situation was rectified on February 6th with the following message :
“We recently learned that an intermediary bank, Standard Chartered Bank, which is processing USD denominated transfers for one of our banks, appears to no longer be processing bitcoin-related wire transfers. As a result, those customers who have made a USD denominated wire transfer since Monday may have their deposits returned or experience a delay in posting to their accounts,” a Bitstamp spokesperson told the media.
Bitstamp, like any other self-respecting Bitcoin exchange would do, managed to find a temporary workaround to combat this Standard Charter Bank issue. Customers making USD denominated wire transfers have to specify the alternate intermediary bank provided on Bitstamp’s deposit page until further notice. A permanent solution is still not available as of this writing.
Standard Chartered Bank is one of Bitstamp’s major banking partners, and their sudden decision to stop processing Bitcoin-related wire transfers could potentially hurt business in the long run. As you will all know, ever since the Mt. Gox debacle, most banks are not too keen on getting involved with Bitcoin-relate transactions or companies.
Not The First Bank To Block Bitcoin-related Transfers in 2015
Unfortunately for Bitcoin enthusiasts around the world, Standard Chartered Bank refusing to deal with any Bitcoin-related transfers it not an exception to the rule. Earlier this year, the Anycoin Direct exchange was suffering from a similar fate when the European Sparkasse (bank) decided to reverse customers’ transfer with or without any warning.
To this date, that matter has not been resolved, as Sparkasse remains firm in their decision. Based on that example, Standard Chartered Bank will most likely stick to their decision as well, creating an even more banking relation environment for Bitcoin-related companies, services and even digital currency enthusiasts themselves.