Unnamed industry sources have said that Barclays will no longer be banking for Coinbase, severing a relationship that began when Coinbase opened a Barclays account in March 2018.
The news is expected to hit the crypto community hard, as, in addition to linking a major crypto exchange with a heavy hitter among the traditional banking establishment, the break may end Coinbase users’ access to the United Kingdom’s Faster Payments Scheme and slow the exchange of cryptocurrencies for British pounds sterling dramatically.
The precise reason for the split is unknown, but one anonymous source speculated to Coindesk that:
“It is my understanding that Barclays’ risk appetite has contracted a little — I’m not sure exactly why or what’s been driving that, maybe there has been some activity they are not happy with. But it’s about Barclays’ comfort level with crypto as a whole.”
Reportedly, Coinbase will continue its access to UK banking through Clearbank, a younger and less established operation.
This is not the first time that Barclays has taken a step back from increasing involvement in the crypto sphere. In August of 2018, the bank began official denials that it was opening a crypto trading desk in light of two employees removing information about work on digital assets from their respective LinkedIn profiles.
Coinbase, for its part, does not seem to have suffered greatly in recent months. This July, it came out that the exchange had registered eight million new users in the preceding year.
Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong was looking to take the exchange beyond trading, expressing plans to expand Coinbase into wider promotion of crypto adoption.