It is being reported that the handshake across the pond, between traditional finance and cryptocurrency, has come to an end. Industry sources have told Coindesk that Barclays will no longer be offering banking services to US exchange Coinbase in the United Kingdom.
This prestigious partnership that began in March of 2018 opened the doors for cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK. Coinbase pioneered banking for exchanges in the UK by being granted an e-money license by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and also became the first exchange to support the UK’s Faster Payments Scheme.
It is not the end of the road for Coinbase in the UK however, as they have quickly switched to a youthful upstart known as ClearBank. Not to mention they are still partnered with PaySafe, the Global payments provider that helped them get their Coinbase Visa debit cards out to UK customers.
However, the sticking point for Coinbase, and indirectly their UK customers, is that the link to Faster Payments Scheme, which allowed instant withdraw and deposit of British pounds at the exchange, has also come to an end with this severance.
This makes one wonder about Coinbase’s decision just days ago also to delist Zcash from its offering in the UK. At the time, there was no explanation offered, instead a warning to get Zcash off their platform a.s.a.p. However, UK-based Bitcoin entrepreneur Alistair Milne tweeted that the delisting was likely a precondition to Coinbase getting access to the Faster Payments Scheme.
The delisting by Coinbase could thus suggest they saw Barclays’ balking coming and have been working in the background to keep some access to the Faster Payments Scheme. Coinbase will need to move quickly though, as it is believed that their customers will be feeling the loss of access to the Faster Payments Scheme, slowing the exchange to and from Pounds Sterling.
Questions will also need to be asked as to why Barclays has suddenly had a change of heart in its banking for Coinbase. The bank’s cryptocurrency reputations have never been too firm and determined. Barclays, last year, was seen to be freezing accounts of those who were known to be using peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading site, LocalBitcoins.
Yet, a quick search of ‘blockchain + Barclays’ brings up a blog on their site titled “Blockchain Revolution in Trade Finance.” It appears to be a bit of a two-faced approach to blockchain and cryptocurrency, only further exacerbated by a lack of explanation form the secretive bank.