Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO), the major Canadian multinational banking corporation operating as BMO Financial Group, has reportedly implemented a ban on its clients participating in cryptocurrency transactions. A Reddit user claiming to be working for the bank has shared an internal document (Ops Bulletin #632 dated March 28, 2018) said to be sent via email company-wide announcing the restrictive measures.
Like taxi drivers attacking Uber or candle makers trying to block out the sun, another bank has taken a stand against bitcoin. BMO is apparently trying to protect its clients from themselves by taking away the freedom to decide what to do with their own money, like using cryptocurrency.
BMO Financial Group
According to the document, titled “Blocking Cryptocurrency Transactions for BMO Credit Cards, Debit Cards, & Intrac Online Payment,” the ban is effective immediately. It explains that BMO will be blocking cryptocurrency merchant transactions. It is not clear from the text if the bank had any intention of informing its clients about the reason their transactions will be blocked as it only mentions that when clients try to complete any cryptocurrency transaction they will be presented with a simple message advising them that the “transaction cannot be completed.”
Bravely protecting clients from themselves
The alleged rationale for the move the bank presents to its employees is safety concerns. “This decision was made due to the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies and to better protect the security of our clients and the bank.”
This suggests that the bank believes it can be responsible for its own actions while its clients can’t, because it was only recently announced that BMO is becoming directly involved in the cryptocurrency market. Bank of Montreal will be providing banking services to an upcoming cryptocurrency brokerage, selling bitcoin and ether, launched by TMX Group, the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
BMO is not the only financial corporation in the world recently trying to block its clients from accessing the bitcoin market of course. Just south of the border, Bank of America has stopped accepting credit card transactions from cryptocurrency exchanges last month.