11 Jan 2021
Bitcoin has surged to record highs this week but anyone who wants to take profits might struggle to cash in their gains.
Some banks will not accept transfers from bitcoin exchanges. HSBC, one of the biggest banks in the country, does not process cryptocurrency payments or allow customers to bank money from digital wallets. While other leading banks will accept transfers from digital wallets to current accounts, many will not allow customers to use their credit cards to buy or sell bitcoin.
When buying bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, you need to use an exchange such as Coin Corner or Coinbase to open an account. Once you have put funds into your account by making a bank transfer or using a debit or credit card, you can then buy and sell units of bitcoin.
These exchanges also give you the option to store your bitcoin in a digital wallet. If you want to cash in profits and move the money into your bank account, the banks that accept transfers from digital wallets expect you to convert bitcoin into a fiat currency, such as sterling, euros or dollars first.
With the price of bitcoin surging above $40,000 this week after increasing by about 300 per cent last year, this could be the first time that many people have decided to take their profits.
If their bank will not accept transfers, their money risks being stuck on the platform and useless until they can find a company that will. Experts advise people to ask their banks about their policies before investing in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Concerns about money laundering are at the heart of scepticism about bitcoin. The nature of cryptocurrency makes it difficult to trace its origins, so many think it is the perfect way for criminals to conceal their activities.
On Wednesday the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, banned the sale of complex cryptocurrency products, such as derivatives, to consumers, although you can still buy the currency itself.
Adrian Lowcock from the investment platform Willis Owen said that trading bitcoin had become easier over the years, with most exchanges improving their processes since the most recent rally in the currency’s price three years ago. This includes making it easier to transfer money to and from major banks. But he warns that it often depends on the platform you have used to purchase cryptocurrency and how you have purchased it as to whether or not it is easy to sell.
By Katherine Denham, The Times, 9 January 2021
Read more at The Times
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