Jon Matonis is an e-money researcher and crypto economist focused on expanding the circulation of nonpolitical digital currencies. His career has included senior posts at Sumitomo Bank, Visa, VeriSign, and Hushmail. Currently, he serves on the board of the Bitcoin Foundation.
With their regulatory status, refined customer identity procedures and global infrastructure, banks could offer bitcoin exchange services and lead the modernization of financial services. Instead, theyre freezing Bitcoin entrepreneurs accounts.
Recognition by a market-based standards organization such as ISO, in the form of a three-letter code, would set the stage for increasing market depth and liquidity of bitcoin trading in turn facilitating overall consumer and merchant adoption.
A new self-regulatory organization for crypto-currencies could do a lot to advance the industry, but risks becoming co-opted by the government and undermining the core value proposition of digital cash.
Politicians who blindly supported restrictive AML guidelines now proclaim disgust as a global bank severs relationships with firms that send money to Somalia. But Barclays is merely exercising understandable caution.