Isreali Bitcoin holders are decidedly taking things into their own hands, seeking legal action against local banks who refuse to open accounts for those dealing in cryptocurrencies. A new petition demands that all banks make public their policies regarding cryptocurrencies.
The Israel Bitcoin Association, together with other groups, has filed a freedom of information petition in the Jerusalem District Court over banks hiding their cryptocurrency-related policies. Many investors have been complaining that banks have been rejecting deposits and withdrawals from cryptocurrency exchanges without reason. The new petition would force them to disclose their policies to make it clear to investors where each bank stands.
Free the Cryptocurrency Policies
The petition, arguably, makes sense in the context of Israeli law. As Jonathan Klinger, legal adviser to the Israel Bitcoin Association, told Globes recently: “Under the Banking (Licensing) Law, it is the duty of a bank to state to the Bank of Israel the policy under which it refuses to conduct transactions.” The Bank of Israel has previously refused similar requests, claiming that such a demand would constitute revealing “commercial secrets” for banks.
Now, the Israel Bitcoin Association is taking the matter in its own hands. It is calling on all Bitcoin holders, no matter how small, to join the petition. The association claims that, although individual holders may not be likely to take legal action due to possible costs, collectively they can win this case. As of now, no court in Israel has ruled on the matter.
Bitcoin Investors Are Suffering
The issue has appeared in court, however, in different forms. For example, last week a NIS 75 million class-action suit against Bank Hapoalim was filed in the Tel Aviv District Court. The suit claims that the bank refused to deposit money obtained from the sale of digital currencies.
Ultimately, according to the Israel Bitcoin Association, the judgment regarding this issue must come from the Bank of Israel itself since it is a system-wide matter. As a result, most banks are currently keeping silent, and hoping perhaps that the central bank does not weigh in. We will have to wait and see what the ruling is in court, then. Both the Bank of Israel nor Mizrahi Tefahot Bank declined to comment when asked by Globes.
Do you agree that all banks should be forced to disclose their cryptocurrency policies? Is the request reasonable? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.
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