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Bank of America publicly acknowledges cryptocurrency risks

Written by David Adams
23/02/2018

Bank of America has become the latest pillar of the global financial establishment to issue a public warning - albeit a subtle one - about risks that cryptocurrencies may pose to the existing financial order. The bank’s annual filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US includes references to the risk factors that cryptocurrencies could pose to its investors.

Those risks could include the potential costs of modifying products or services if one or more cryptocurrencies became significantly popular with mainstream customers; but also the fact that increased use of cryptocurrencies may make it harder for the bank to meet all regulatory requirements if it becomes difficult to track the movement of customer’s funds.

The Bank is one of a growing number of financial providers that has blocked customers from buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards that it issues. It has also imposed restrictions on Merrill Lynch clients seeking exposure to Bitcoin-related investments.

Yet it is also worth recalling that in December the bank was awarded a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for an automated cryptocurrency exchange system capable of converting one digital currency into another, suitable, in theory, for use by business customers. While the company’s current view on cryptocurrencies is very clear, it has also obviously been preparing for the possibility that the situation might change in the future.