UK-based NatWest Bank announced new limits to transactions to crypto exchanges in an effort to protect its users from “crypto-criminals,” as Reuters reported.
The new rules will limit transactions to crypto exchanges to a maximum of £5,000 per 30 days — equating to a little over $6,000, according to Reuters. Users also won’t be able to transfer more than £1,000 (over $1,200) to crypto exchanges within one day.
NatWest’s Head of Fraud Protection, Stuart Skinner, said that users in the UK lost £239 million to crypto crime during 2022.
“We have seen an increase in the number of scams using cryptocurrency exchanges and we are acting to protect our customers.”
He added that the increased cost of living in the UK makes it easier for malicious actors to lure consumers who seek high returns.
NatWest bank has made certain public declarations that revealed its anti-crypto stance in 2021. In April, the Bank stated that it considers digital assets as “high-risk” investment tools and therefore has “no appetite” for the field. Thus, the Bank claimed it wouldn’t serve businesses that deal in crypto.
In June 2022, the Bank cited the criminal activities within the crypto space and capped the daily amounts transferred to crypto exchanges to protect its customers.
In October 2022 , NatWest appeared in the headlines with another anti-crypto narrative. The Bank’s chairman Sir Howard Davies said he’s “very hostile” towards crypto and called for an outright ban.
“Let’s just ban the damned stuff. Why beat about the bush here.”
Crypto fraud in the UK
In January, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) identified 168 companies registered in the UK and accused of fraudulent crypto businesses.
These companies approach investors through social media and convince them to deposit money. The total losses exceeded £2.8 million, which equates to around $3.4 million, according to the data. It was also noted that the criminals were choosing the UK to register their businesses because the UK is viewed as a trustworthy location.
Acknowledging the situation, the UK government decided to tighten the rules, “including the introduction of a requirement to verify information provided to Companies House,” to prevent these operations from appearing within the country.