Back in March, Chile banks announced the closure of the bank accounts of some cryptocurrency exchanges. Earlier this week though, some of these exchanges applied to the courts to fight this decision, as they believe that Chile is taking matters into their own hands and are ‘killing the entire industry.’ They are now patiently waiting to hear some news, which is due to be released today; however, they are struggling to see why the banks feel that they have the right and the power to deny the access to new technology.
BUDA’s co-founder and CDEO Guillermo Torrealba, has said that the current situation is precarious, saying;
“Chile is showing its ‘B’ side, that of being an extremely conservative country, even though we make huge efforts for the world to see us as liberals…The banks have shown their darkest side. Restricting a whole country to access a technology just because they didn’t like it. This is even worse than Ecuador, Bolivia or China’s case, where the government was the one that took the initiative. Because you could judge the decision of a government, because, at the end of the day these players represent the people, and people are free to take whatever path they feel is right.”
One of the main issues that Torrealba has is that the banks are effectively stopping the running of cryptocurrency exchanges, which is slowing the process for the whole country. He feels that there has been a restriction on economic liberties;
“So why is this fight important? Because of economic liberty. But not even liberty from an abusive government, but liberty from a corrupt and overpowered financial industry which is protecting itself in the most archaic and prehistoric way: denying a technology in the most open and overly bold way they could find. [The banks are] so openly abusive that everyone agrees that what they’re doing is illegal but that isn’t enough or them to stop. They’re just too big to need to tread carefully, or to act inside the regulatory frame.”
He is not the only one to be feeling negative towards this decision, as an onslaught of Tweets appeared both inside and outside of Chile, suggesting that the idea was not only ludicrous, but also detrimental to Chile.
Arthur Gervais, a blockchain professor who works at Imperial College London, and co-founder of Liquidity.Network agrees with Terrealba, going even further to suggest that this is a degradation of fundamental rights, saying;
“Traditional finance intermediaries are likely to experience a fundamental shift in their business models, which understandably creates tensions. The attempt, however, to censor decentralised technology, is not only likely to fail and a fundamental deprivation of human rights, but it’ll further empower and motivate those that develop novel Blockchain technology.”
Time will tell whether the cryptocurrency exchanges were successful or not, but if they are not, there is no question that the decision will face a lot of fightback from others, and that it might have a negative effect on Chile’s economy.
Featured Image Original Source: Flickr – Great Photo By Trepan