Users report receiving calls from Axis bank and asked to sign a declaration to not trade virtual currencies. Local Branches threaten to freeze the account.
It has been over 4 days since reports started pouring in from users about how banks are calling and asking if they are using their account for cryptocurrency trading.
Almost all the reports say Axis Bank representatives are calling them and asking if they use their Axis Bank accounts for virtual currency trading. At this point, users are unsure what to answer.
In some cases users have also been asked to sign a declaration stating they won’t deal in virtual currencies and have been threatened that the bank will freeze their accounts if they did.
Two users on Coin Crunch India’s telegram group first raised the concern on Jul 8, later when we observed twitter, it came to light that many crypto traders are facing the same issue.
One Particular Exchange Users Targeted
An Axis bank user who received a call from the bank asked the reason for questioning. He was informed that the bank has to give a report on why are people making transfers to a particular “Karur Vysya Bank” account.
This bank account belongs to WazirX, a Cryptocurrency exchange. The twitter users complaining about being targeted by Axis bank also confirm they were questioned for their transactions on WazirX.
When asked about why this particular bank, the representative from Axis bank replied, “Seems like a lot of transactions are happening on this account from Surat”.
An Axis bank assistant manager from Maharashtra told Coin Crunch they have received no such instructions. Another account holder who asked his branch’s manager, he was informed they have no such instructions to call customers.
Declaration to Not Deal In Crypto
Some Axis bank account holders also reported they were being asked to sign a declaration. A copy of the disclaimer circulating on Twitter shows the customers are asked to declare they will not be using the account for virtual currency trading. It also asks customers to confirm if the transactions pulled out by the bank were used for trading or not.
Three Axis bank customers who received such calls and were asked to sign a declaration have confirmed the authenticity of the image shared above to Coin Crunch.
An employee of Axis bank who did not wished to be named said this exercise is simply to reduce Axis bank’s liability in case the customer is defrauded in a cryptocurrency transaction.
“Every month we do call some customers (to check what kind of transactions they are doing)”. However, he did not have any information about such declarations circulating within Axis bank.
What can you do if you got a call from Axis Bank?
The crypto community as a whole is appalled by this unprecedented move of Axis bank. While arguing that the Supreme Court judgment and subsequent response to an RTI query by Unocoin’s co-founder Harish BV both clarify that no banks are restricted from regulators to provide services to Crypto traders, prominent people in the industry still recommended to simply close the bank account and move on.
When argued that Bank should give it in writing why they are asking us to sign a declaration, the CEO of Unocoin exchange suggested the fight is not worth it.
That is correct. All of us who can give what in writing and what they cannot give in writing. They are not mandated to give in writing just because we ask. This is not even an argument. Moving to another bank is the best option & the months or years of the fight is not worth it.— Sathvik Vishwanath (Unocoin) (@sathvikv) July 8, 2020
Nischal Shetty, CEO of WazirX, the exchange whose users are facing this issue took a jibe at the bank on twitter as well.
Someone at Axis is reading news from 2018. Tell them it’s 2020— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) July 8, 2020
Sohail Merchant, CEO of Pocketbits Exchange suggested the user to confront the branch manager.
Write a letter to the branch manager itself and get a receipt, asking under what restrictions and laws are they asking you to not deal in “Virtual Currencies” and what are the definitions. Also attach @bvharish’s RBI RTI response,Once they do reply, reachout to me via dm.— Sohail Merchant (@inkparadox) July 10, 2020
Crypto Kanoon’s Mohammed Danish shared a story of his client who showed the RTI copy that clearly says RBI has placed no prohibition on the banks, the bank said they would like to see a unredacted copy of the same.
Yes you can use that Aheli. In fact one of my clients tried to use it but the bank was keen to see the unredacted copy of the RTI response.— Mohammed Danish (@DaniAdvocate) July 8, 2020
If you received a call from Axis bank or any bank, let us know by sending an email to Contact(at)coincrunch.in with as much detail as you can give us about the incident.