In early August 2018, Scott Snaith, one of the top electric bicycle retailers in the United Kingdom had his bank account frozen. It was a horrifying experience for the businessman when he discovered that his Barclays accounts, both personal and business had become frozen.
The Rude Awakening of Account Freeze
Information from sources disclosed that Scott who was in charge of the popular 50cycles, a business that helps its clients to earn cryptocurrencies when they ride an electric bicycle, was making use of LocalBitcoins, a well-known peer-to-peer trading platform, to trade Bitcoin for Cash.
Scott stated that there were no fraudulent activities in his transactions, that they were “entirely transparent and above board.” He explained further in his defense that he made a conscious decision to only trade with UK account holders whose ID have been verified.
In response to his account freeze, Scott made a complaint to the Barclays bank and also to the financial ombudsman who both began to look into the issue and Scott’s local MP Nicky Morgan also joined the investigation. Nicky Morgan also serves as the chair of the HRMC Treasury department and also oversees future regulations of cryptocurrency in the UK.
“I lodged a complaint with the bank’s senior fraud advisor and I’ve taken the issue to Financial Ombudsman,” said Scott.
Issue Yet To Be Addressed
Now, about 25 weeks later and still counting, the accounts belonging to Scott remains frozen which has made it impossible for the businessman to have access to his money. Scott is yet to receive answers explaining the reasons why his money is being withheld. Speaking on the matter, Scott said: “But we’re now six months down the line and I’m still in the dark… my treatment has been nothing short of a disgrace. I’ve been made to feel like a criminal simply because of my interest in future tech. “
Though the trade which led to the freezing of his account was conducted with his personal account, it did not stop his business account from being affected too.
Barclays has issued an official response to the matter stating that it “was complying with its legal and regulatory obligations and we never take the decision to issue a notice of closure or end a client relationship, lightly.”
However, the freezing of accounts belonging to crypto-traders is not a new occurrence. Actually, it has been happening for a while now. For instance, a lot of accounts were frozen last year by banks situated in the UK and EU in disciplinary action against cryptocurrencies.