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Chase changes crypto policy to block payments related to crypto assets

Chase changes crypto policy to block payments related to crypto assets
As of the 16th of October 2023, Chase customers will no longer be able to make payments related to crypto assets.  

An email circulated on the 26th of September 2023 to Chase customers detailed that from the 16th of October, if they believe customers are trying to make a payment related to crypto assets, it will be declined. They have made this decision because they state that ‘fraudsters are increasingly using crypto to steal large sums of money from people’. They believe that declining these payments is one of the ways they’re helping to keep their customer’s money safe.  

What does this mean for Chase customers? 

For Chase customers, the recent shift in the bank's crypto payment policy entails a notable change in their financial landscape. From that date forward, customers will find themselves unable to execute payments related to crypto assets using their Chase accounts. While the bank frames this decision as a security measure to shield customers from potential fraud linked to crypto transactions, it may pose a challenge for those actively engaged in the crypto space. Investors, traders, and individuals accustomed to using Chase for crypto-related activities will need to seek alternative methods.  

This move may lead to a degree of customer frustration and prompt some to reassess their banking preferences, with potential consideration for institutions more accommodating to crypto transactions.  

Educational outreach from Chase explaining the rationale behind this policy change and guiding customers toward secure alternatives will be crucial in navigating these shifts. Depending on customer feedback and the evolving regulatory landscape, it’s unknown whether Chase will revisit and adjust its policy in the future, underscoring the ongoing struggle for traditional financial institutions to find the right balance between innovation and transaction security. 

“Our recent research highlights the issues some people have with cryptocurrencies and found that security risks are the second largest barrier to adoption behind volatility. Chase UK's decision to blanket block crypto-related payments due to concerns about fraud and security is surprising. Whilst we respect the bank's commitment to safeguarding its customers, there are other means to protect against scams and fraud. Instead of banning all crypto-related activity, which may ultimately cause customers to leave, it is possible to prevent theft and loss by introducing more robust safety measures which can tackle these issues at source.” 

David Janczewski, CEO and Co-Founder, Coincover

The trilemma and the balancing act, navigating crypto regulation  

Regulation could be the way forward in ensuring that customers are protected when interacting with crypto providers, ultimately closing the gap between TradFi and DeFi. 

In the new world of crypto regulation, finding the right balance is proving to be difficult. Regulators must simultaneously protect individuals, safeguard the financial system’s integrity, and nurture innovation which drives competition and generally better products for consumers. However, this delicate balancing act often attracts scepticism and raises questions about ulterior motives.  

Our recent report confirms the consensus that better regulation is needed, with many respondents believing that the current level of regulation is not enough. Notably, respondents from Singapore and the UAE, where the development of regulation is more advanced, feel that crypto is regulated appropriately.  

Where does integration with traditional banking work? 

Crypto-specific developments aside, closer partnerships between digital service providers and traditional finance are imperative. The stubborn loyalty customers exhibit toward banks presents a challenge. Consequently, many crypto investors seek to integrate their trading activities with their primary banking relationships.  

Report authors and Bitcoin specialists at NYDIG are now working in partnership with Deloitte to further cement the relationship between the two sectors.

“We envision a world where traditional financial infrastructure works alongside digital asset infrastructure to deliver clients a best-in-class experience with the highest standards of regulatory compliance.”  

Yan Zhao, Former President, NYDIG

Notably, brands like Visa, Mastercard, Revolut, PayPal, and Square, driven by forward-thinking financial service providers, are leading the way in this integration. Through apps and APIs, they are progressing toward a seamless integrated financial world.  

What else could have been done?  

Mitigating risks associated with crypto involves a careful balance between security measures and enabling the legitimate use of digital assets. Instead of an outright ban on crypto-related payments, Chase could have considered the following alternatives to address the potential risks: 

  1. Enhanced Customer Education: 
    1. Invest in educating customers about the risks associated with crypto transactions. 
    2. Provide resources and information on how to identify and avoid common crypto scams. 
    3. Offer guidance on secure storage practices for crypto assets. 
  2. Transaction Monitoring and Alerts: 
    1. Implement advanced transaction monitoring systems to detect suspicious patterns. 
    2. Set up real-time alerts for customers to notify them of potentially fraudulent transactions. 
    3. Encourage customers to enable two-factor authentication for added security. 
  3. Collaboration with Crypto Exchanges: 
    1. Establish partnerships with reputable crypto exchanges to gain insights into emerging threats. 
    2. Foster collaboration to share information on potential scams and fraudulent activities. 
    3. Explore the possibility of creating joint educational initiatives. 
  4. Customisable Security Settings: 
    1. Allow customers to customize their security settings based on their risk tolerance. 
    2. Provide options for customers to set transaction limits, whitelist trusted wallets, or enable additional security features for crypto transactions. 
  5. Regulatory Compliance: 
    1. Stay updated on evolving crypto regulations and compliance requirements. 
    2. Implement robust Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures for crypto-related transactions. 
    3. Collaborate with regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with industry standards. 
  6. Continuous Risk Assessment: 
    1. Conduct regular risk assessments to identify new and emerging threats. 
    2. Adapt security measures based on the evolving nature of the crypto landscape. 
    3. Engage with cybersecurity experts to stay ahead of potential risks. 

By adopting a more nuanced approach that combines security enhancements, customer education, and strategic partnerships, Chase could have sought to mitigate the risks associated with crypto transactions while still allowing customers to engage with this evolving financial ecosystem. This approach recognises the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies while proactively addressing the challenges. 

As the blockchain protection company, Coincover is on hand to help you navigate crypto associated risks.  

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