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Is Bitcoin Responsible For Capital Controls In The US?

[heading]Is Bitcoin Responsible For Capital Controls In The US? [/heading]

With each JP Morgan business account holder who receives the letter informing them of new JP Morgan business account policies, a case for Bitcoin is made.

However ironically, could it be that this is the polar opposite of the bank’s intentions?

JP Morgan Chase’s Business Banking Division sent a letter to account holders stating, from November 17, 2013 on, the bank would no longer offer international wire transfers. Any scheduled transfers or recurring transfers would be canceled.

Further, cash activity – that is, folding, green cash and money orders – would be limited to $50,000 per statement cycle.

The bank states that: “These changes will help us more effectively manage the risks involved with these types of transactions.”

Why now?

Especially since spring of this year, banking institutions have given Bitcoin businesses and users headaches. Although federal agencies have proposed guidelines for virtual currencies -even decentralized digital currencies – banks have instead carried out their own summary account closures. It is well-within their right, to be sure, as they must by law follow Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer programs. They perceive Bitcoin, clearly, as a risk similar to cash and international wire transfers.

Banks have been famously unpredictable when it comes to Bitcoin. They have also grown more vigilant over time. CoinDesk has been made aware of users who have even been asked to fill-out documents required of a Money Service Business, even though the user was a mere speculator. Bitcoin’s continued questionable press has not helped the way Bitcoin is treated by banks. Has the bank’s erratic behavior towards Bitcoin affected non-bitcoin related customers?

As Dollar Vigilante editor Jeff Berwick writes, “I would not be surprised in the least to see, within the next month, all banks  begin implementing such things. TDV spoke with a JPMorgan representative who told me this was merely for customers who rarely come into branches or who had created their accounts online. This change in JPMorgan policy signals a change in this institution’s interpretation of Know Your Customer laws.”

So, if JP Morgan and other banks have designed to adjust their Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer policies, why now? Could it be that the liberal adoption of Bitcoin, and the increased awareness of Bitcoin as a thing, has resulted in the hastened implementation of capital controls on the US?

Either way, if the major US financial institutions adopt a similar policy to JP Morgan, then the flight to Bitcoin will only quicken: the unintended consequence of US capital controls.


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