Despite the bitcoin price slump, quite a lot of positive news has been emanating from the blockchain-based virtual currency space since the beginning of 2018. In the latest development, London Block Exchange has teamed up ClearBank to make it easier for clients to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
A Crypto-Fiat Alliance
According to Reuters, London Block Exchange (LBX), the first dedicated cryptocurrency exchange in the UK that focuses on making it easier for retail and institutional investors to have access to digital assets, has inked a strategic deal with ClearBank – UK’s first clearing bank in operation from 250 years.
Per insider sources, the deal will enable local customers of the firm to trade digital currencies without having to transfer their money overseas.
At a time when heavyweight financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and others have shunned providing crypto-related services to customers, due to the super volatile nature of digital assets, the LDX ClearBank initiative seems like a forward-thinking maneuver. The move would alleviate the sufferings of bitcoin and other crypto investors in the UK, to some extent.
An Innovative Push
In March 2018, reports emerged that LBX had started offering clients on-shore accounts plus access to Faster Payments Services (FPS), in a bid to ensure that electronic money transfers arrive at their destinations on the same day they were sent. The initiative allows crypto traders with the LBX to convert their GBP to cryptocurrencies and vice versa.
CEO and founder of LBX, Benjamin Dives, said:
“We are creating a service where all steps of the cryptocurrency investment journey are seamless and straightforward. Crypto enthusiasts have been long calling for this, but equally, new customers will be able to find in LBX a grown up, reliable and comprehensive service that they can trust. It’s just another step-in cryptocurrency’s maturation in the UK.”
Regulatory Uncertainties, Banks, and Cryptos
Although 2018 has seen quite many nations formulate laws to govern their digital currency space, the industry remains mainly unregulated.
Amidst that backdrop, financial institutions in some nations have refrained from servicing crypto exchanges and bitcoin-related businesses, citing the use of digital currencies by bad actors to aid financial crimes such as money laundering.
On March 14, 2018, reports emerged that cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase opened a bank account with Barclays bank to make it easier for its UK clients to fund their crypto accounts.
However, other businesses that deal with cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom have not had the same breakthrough. Therefore, they have been forced to work with banks in European nations outside the UK.
While the UK have accepted the gospel of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies that even brought DLT to the limelight are yet to gain full acceptance in the region, and it may take years or even decades for the United Kingdom to warm up to cryptos.