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5 Feb, 2018 11:17

Big banks crack down on bitcoin

Big banks crack down on bitcoin

Transactions with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are no longer available for 8 million credit card users of Lloyds Banking Group, which unites Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA.

The ban will not apply to debit cards, only to credit cards issued by the group.

“Across Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland, Halifax and MBNA, we do not accept credit card transactions involving the purchase of cryptocurrencies,” said a company spokeswoman. The decision was made to "protect customers," Lloyds said.

Lloyds’ move follows bans at the weekend from American banks JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup.

The ban comes as holders of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continue to suffer a steep plunge in the value of their holdings. Lloyds said it fears that credit card owners will buy cryptocurrencies in the hopes of making a profit, but will have to repay the debt when the price falls.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK should look “very seriously” at digital currencies as they can be used by criminals.

Bitcoin has fallen below $7,000, trading 16 percent lower on Monday. It is now over 60 percent below its record high of $20,000 reached in December. All but two of the top 100 cryptocurrencies on Coinmarketcap’s list were down at 10:30 GMT, with some losing as much as 24 percent of their value. The exceptions are #64 bitcore (4 percent growth) and #83 xplay (43 percent growth).

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