LONDON - Britain's Natwest Group has capped the daily amount customers can send to cryptocurrency exchanges, including major platform Binance, because of concerns over investment scams and fraud, a spokesperson told Reuters on Tuesday.
The temporary cap, imposed by one of Britain's domestic biggest lenders on June 24, targets a number of exchanges and digital asset firms, the spokesperson said. The maximum amount varies depending on the platform, and is typically in the thousands of pounds, they added.
"We have seen a high level of cryptocurrency investment scams targeting our customers across retail and business banking, particularly through social media sites," the spokesperson said.
"To protect our customers from the criminals exploiting these platforms, we're temporarily reducing the maximum daily amount that a customer can send to cryptocurrency exchanges as well as blocking payments to a small number of cryptocurrency asset firms where we have seen particularly significant levels of fraud-related harm for our customers."
A spokesperson for Binance, one of the world's largest crypto exchanges, said it was serious about its responsibility to protect users from attempted scams and frauds.
"Where we are made aware of these kinds of claims, we immediately take action and have an excellent record of working with law enforcement agencies globally to assist in their investigations," he said.
Binance is coming under increasing scrutiny by regulators globally. Britain's financial watchdog last week said it cannot conduct any regulated activity and issued a warning to consumers about the platform.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) did not give reasons for its move, but told Reuters that Binance withdrew its application to register with it as a crypto-related business in mid-May.
Since January, crypto-related firms have had to register with the FCA, which oversees compliance with laws designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
In the wake of the move by the FCA, the NatWest spokesperson said it would keep under review Binance's place on the list of crypto companies affected.
Binance offers services ranging from digital token trading to derivatives, as well as emerging technology such as tokenised versions of stocks.
(Reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Kirsten Donovan) ((T.Wilson@thomsonreuters.com; (44) 20 7513 5676; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))