New year, New BSB! – Does the “Crypto Friendly” bank really exist?
Happy new year fellow Bitcoiners, and welcome to 2019! Do you know what else you’ll more than likely be welcoming this year? A closure notice from the bank you’ve probably been with since you were 6 – oh the memories of putting your left-over tuck shop coins into your bank book for collection on a Wednesday afternoon 10 minutes before the 3pm bell… But alas, As the saying goes for the termination of any long-term relationship, “It’s not me, it’s you, you’ve changed, and I just can’t love you anymore”
It’s a bit of a blow, really. All the adventures, the ups, the downs. The memories begin to flash before your eyes. Your first debit card, the time your first pay cheque was deposited in, and the sad reckoning of when you received that letter saying “you’re not a kid anymore, here have some monthly account keeping fees”.
Nevertheless, as your once significant other has reminded you – you’ve changed. As the kids say it, you’re becoming “woke”, but as I would say, you’re realising that relationship you have been in for so long, was merely based on lies, falsehoods, and a whole bunch of gaslighting. But don’t let this get you down fellow reader, for you are a strong independent Bitcoiner, who don’t need no bank to keep you warm at night!
Wipe those tears from your face, and turn that frown upside down! You gotta stand up tall, head held high, march right out of that door and…
Find another bank account.
Lets face it, as much as it sounds amazing to make the jump to that 100% “crypto lyf”, following through with that decision may not be something you’re ready for, or even prepared for – after all, I don’t see McDonald’s accepting Monero, or Electricity companies accepting “lite”coin in the near future (see what I did there?). Rest assured, one can only hope.
And while we can certainly bask in the utility of interim products and services such as Selling your Bitcoin to Bitcoin Babe in exchange for payment on your bills, or, using a Bitcoin Babe ATM card for those day to day purchases (c’mon, this wouldn’t be a BB blog post without some shameless self-promotion, right?), Sometimes it’s an old-fashioned bank account that will just hit the nail on the head.
But while “old fashion” may be the way to go, I use the term loosely. The traditional “Big Banks” are not your friends here – in fact, I would be betting that right now it’s where your closure notice came from. Commonwealth, ANZ, NAB, Westpac – all established in times where “traditional values” meant men should be the pillars of society and women should stay in the kitchen. Of course, NAB is the exception to this, coming about in the 80s, when ecstasy was a raging epidemic, so take that as you will. Either way, its these sorts of banks that are set in their ways, and not willing to go against the grain.
What you need is someone new and refreshing. Someone who understands that you have needs – a particular itch that conventional banking just can’t scratch – and they’re willing to accept that. Someone open to a polyamorous relationship if you will; agreeing to the fact that Jealousy is a curse, and sometimes it may just be more fun to jump in together!
It’s time to get down and dirty! Nitty gritty! Let’s get it on with some real talk…
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, or APRA, are the government organization who say yay or nay to our banks. This is done under what’s called an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution license, or an ADI. Recently, APRA came out with a shiny new license called a RADI, which is a Restricted Authorised Deposit-taking Institution license (can you tell the government LOVES the use of acronyms yet?). The idea behind that is to help promote some more healthy competition within our economy – Applying to become an ADI is hard, applying to become a RADI is easier (but still hard).
Thanks to this totally “Rad” RADI license, expect to see some more crypto friendly competition enter the market in the next 24 months or so. But a fair warning – these will be consumer accounts – not business accounts. So, if you intend on trying to feed your account details through a LocalBitcoins listing, you may get a rude shock a short time down the track.
With that all said and done, it would be rather rude of me to end my ramblings here – how dare I elude to knowing a “crypto friendly” bank account and then tell you to wait an undefined amount of time. I should note though – what I am about to tell you is from personal experience and through my own research. It may not convey the intentions of, or, the standing of the banks I’m about to mention. I’m also not getting paid by the banks for these mentions, so if you appreciate my input, be sure to check out my services by clicking this link.
My first pick: ING
While ING has been a pretty big deal in the European market for quite some time, ING expanded into the Australian market in 1999 – you probably remember their pretty cringy Billy Connelly ads, before Borat’s wife took over the campaign. But ING have been secretly vocal about their stance on Bitcoin, and that is, they’re ok with it.
You won’t necessarily find anything in their terms and conditions about it, but according to the ING counterpart in the Netherlands, there really isn’t any problem with it:
I’m unsure if ING Australia have yet to address this topic publicly, but from what I’ve heard from the “not staff” on “not reddit” there really is no problem, so give it a go!
My second pick: ME Bank
Now, I cannot really attest to this, but word on the streets is that ME Bank have become pretty crypto friendly in the past few years. ME popped up around the same time as ING, in 1999, you probably wouldn’t remember that because Billy Connelly still scars your mind. While they’re not exactly as “history rich” compared to ING, their background was predominantly superfunds and home loans back in the day. However, given their openness around investing in fintech companies that involve blockchain technologies, it would seem like a pretty stupid move to try and attack the community who help to keep your shareholdings alive (like some of the big banks have done).
It should be noted though, ME Bank have been known to be a bit trigger happy when it comes to freezing accounts, so be prepared to go to battle, should conscription pull your account number out of the lottery.
But please heed this warning:
These are CONSUMER accounts. If you intend on trying to use these accounts for commercial use, or, using them to accept and make large payments, then expect a phone call from the bank asking for a please explain. Using your account for commercial use will more than likely get you a warning (stop doing it otherwise we’ll shut your account down) but if your trading large amounts, and only for yourself, then don’t be afraid to explain yourself. As someone who has lied to copious amounts of banks, you would be surprised how helpful they can be when you are a little more forthcoming with the truth.
Have you found any crypto friendly banks recently? Do you think I’m spot on with my picks? Or do you think I’ve missed the mark? Be sure to let me know in the comments!
May your trades be fruitful for 2019.
NB: This article has been written with the purpose of describing my experiences and research surrounding cryptocurrencies and its interactions with financial institutions. This is NOT financial advice. I am not a financial adviser. Do not take advice from me. It would be the equivalent of getting cooking advice from a giraffe – giraffes can’t cook, and if they can, why has no one told me about this?