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Blockchain Association Asks Government Agencies to Release Info on Debanking Cryptocurrency Companies

The Blockchain Association, a U.S.-based group advocating for the cryptocurrency industry, has revealed that it has made Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to a number of federal regulatory agencies as the association investigates what it calls improper attempts to keep crypto businesses from accessing banking services. The improper acts, the association asserts, could have played a role in the recent collapse of three major banks.

In its March 16 notice, the Blockchain Association reveals that its FOIA requests were sent to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Bank system board and the Office of the Controller of Currency (OCC). Specifically, the association wants these regulators to furnish it with all documents as well as any other forms of communication that can verify the suspicion that regulators acted in ways that played a role in Signature Bank, Silvergate Bank and Silicon Valley Bank going under in quick succession.

Kristen Smith, CEO of the advocacy group, asserted that players in the cryptocurrency space deserve to be given equal treatment just as any other lawfully established business in the country. She adds that banking service access is one of the most basic of requirements that any business should have.

The notice mentions that the association is in the process of investigating several allegations that appear troubling, including a concern that the accounts of companies within the cryptocurrency space are being closed, and that entities in this industry are having their requests for new accounts denied by the banks they approach. These problems have become worse in the immediate aftermath of the failure of the trio of banks seen as friendly to crypto and blockchain businesses.

The Blockchain Association says many critics of the industry have, without justifiable reason, placed the cause of the latest banking industry crisis upon the cryptocurrency industry and yet there is no grain of evidence backing the apportioning of such blame to them.

It should be remembered that on March 8, 2023, the parent company of Silvergate Bank made an announcement that it was going to wind down the operations of its bank, and barely two days later, SVB experienced a bank run and went belly up. It has now emerged that regulators may have possibly made attempts to arm-twist potential buyers of the banks to promise not to have any crypto-related activities or clients. This is what has drawn the ire of the Blockchain Association, which is conducting its own investigations to get to the bottom of this issue.

It remains to be seen how major players in the crypto space such as Coinbase Global Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN), which were clients to some of the closed banks, will demonstrate their resilience and take this recent shock in stride.

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