In a surprising turn of events, Bitcoin media outlet CoinJournal announced that multi-billion dollar financial institution Barclays has shut down its bank account for being linked to Bitcoin. As a result, the company has decided to immediately stop providing coverage of Blockchain projects of banks and financial institutions.
The CoinJournal team told Cointelegraph:
“We received no official reason as to why Barclays have decided to no longer deal with us, however, the account is used predominantly for taking payments via advertisers in dollars and exchanging these for Bitcoin and paying our staff and overheads using Bitcoin.”
The punch in the stomach?
For those that are not familiar with Bitcoin and its underlying technology Blockchain, Bitcoin is the most secure and reliable cryptocurrency that has been tested for over 8 years. The Blockchain technology is the backbone of Bitcoin, which allows the network to maintain and record transactions.
Since early 2015, major banks and financial establishments have been trying to compete with Bitcoin by introducing their own independent Blockchain projects. Reuters estimate that over $ 1.5 bln was injected into the Blockchain market by banks. However, the financial industry is still struggling to demonstrate a single working commercial usage of their “private Blockchain networks.”
Because of the pressure from its investors and consumers, banks continue to feel threatened by Bitcoin and any company that revolve around the cryptocurrency. This is the case with CoinJournal, whose account was shut down by Barclays without any prior notice, for being linked to Bitcoin.
Similar cases emerged in late 2015 and earlier this year in Australia, when national banks and major financial establishments closed the bank accounts of Bitcoin startups and exchanges for utilizing Bitcoin.
In an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, the CoinJournal team stated that the company was offered nothing more than a vague explanation that it breached the Barclays Terms and Conditions and User Agreement.
It is important to note that the core operations of CoinJournal as a Bitcoin media company are focused on journalism, reporting factual news and providing the Bitcoin community with fresh information. The company itself has very little to do with trading or storing Bitcoin, unlike Bitcoin exchanges and wallet platforms.
Still, Barclays decided to shut down the bank account of CoinJournal that has been utilized to accept payments from advertisers to compensate its writers and settle various overheads.
Oh the irony
Banks like Barclays are a part of a large consortium called R3CEV, also referred to as the R3 Consortium, which is a cooperative of the world’s largest commercial banks and financial institutions looking into the Blockchain technology.
The consortium has a common goal to implement and integrate the Blockchain technology. Despite injecting $ 400 mln annually, the R3 Consortium is yet to present a working prototype of its spin-off technology.
Regardless of competition, banks and financial institutions must embrace and appreciate the fact that their own projects are based on the structure of Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency. Their projects are a replica of Bitcoin and they are obligated to pay respect to startups that revolves around the digital currency.
Instead, they are opting to censor innovation, reduce the mainstream potential of the digital currency and create difficult environment for startups just to shed some spotlight onto their private Blockchain projects.
“Considering our limited use of Bitcoin, their archaic stance to a truly innovative technology is absurd,” the CoinJournal team explained. “As a result of this, we will no longer feature content about Blockchain projects from banks or consortiums,” it added.