ANZ Bank has agreed to close all Australian Bitcoin exchanges, including one that operates a trading platform.
The bank said it was making the announcement in response to a parliamentary inquiry into the risks of unregulated and untrustworthy Bitcoin exchanges.
“We believe Australia has significant regulatory risks to the financial system, including from Bitcoin,” the statement read.
“A number of our clients and other Bitcoin businesses have already been impacted by the recent volatility in the market, and we are continuing to work with regulators to reduce these risks.”
In a separate statement, ANZ said it would suspend trading in exchanges and related products until at least June 30, 2016.
“While we have taken this decision in response on the advice of regulatory authorities, we expect to continue to have a robust network of Bitcoin services available,” the bank said.
Bitcoin exchanges have faced regulatory scrutiny in recent months, with some of the biggest firms, including Coinbase, Blockchain and CoinLab, also shutting down.
In January, the Federal Government introduced new anti-money laundering laws that came into effect on November 1, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said it is looking into how much competition there is in the industry.
Last month, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission warned Bitcoin is a “financial service which poses a significant risk to consumers” and “may be used for criminal activity”.
Earlier this month, Australia’s Federal Court ruled that the country could not be forced to close down exchanges.
The decision followed an earlier court order in April to force ANZ to close a trading service, which it has been doing since January, after it said it “failed to comply with a legal duty” to do so.
Topics:bitcoin-economics-and-finance,business-economies,financial-services,finance-and_investment,government-and/or-politics,federal—state-issues,law-crime-and.courts,australiaFirst posted March 08, 2016 09:33:57Contact Nick TaylorMore stories from Australia