Court Orders Unicredit Bank to Pay Crypto Miners $144 Million in Damages
UniCredit Bank has been ordered to pay $144 million in damages for illegally closing the accounts of a crypto mining company. Although the attitude of traditional banks towards cryptocurrency has changed a lot, many are still reluctant to do business with crypto companies.
European commercial bank UniCredit has been ordered to pay $144 million in damages for unlawfully closing the accounts of a crypto mining company. A subsidiary of Bitminer Factory reported the unilateral closure of its accounts, specifically blaming UniCredit subsidiary Banja Luka. The company further stated that the illegal closure “prevented the initial coin offering related to startup projects in the crypto mining sector using renewable energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
UniCredit discontinues service for crypto mining companies
The crypto mining company has a presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina because the country charges a flat fee for electricity consumption. In order to have an ongoing project, the company opened bank accounts with UniCredit. First, the bank allowed the mining company to transfer profits from the sale of mined cryptocurrencies to its accounts. The financial institution later limited this ability, citing its inability to service crypto companies and contractors.
However, during the litigation, UniCredit was unable to provide any documents to support its claims about restricting services to crypto firms. The evidence presented by the crypto mining company, on the other hand, was solid and conclusive. As a result, the District Court in Banja Luka ruled that the UniCredit branch must pay the equivalent of $144 million in damages. UniCredit has already appealed. According to the bank, the judgment “is not final, binding or enforceable”. It goes on to say:
“Any liability, if any, will only be determined after the final completion of all available remedies and not until the Court of Appeals has delivered a final and binding judgment.”
Bank maintains its anti-crypto stance
UniCredit’s refusal to serve crypto mining companies, traders or holders is not the first time. UniCredit reported to a Twitter user in January:
“Hello, the group’s current policy prohibits relationships with parties that issue virtual currencies or act as exchange platforms.”
Other financial institutions also drew reactions from the crypto community, as many of them refused to offer crypto-related services. Last year, many banks stopped processing cryptocurrency transactions. The UK ranks as one of the most anti-crypto nations, in lockstep with the US, whose financial institutions and regulators are increasingly scrambling to dominate the field. It is worth remembering that in 2021 the UK HSBC blocked transactions from UK digital asset exchanges.
This is not to say that all banks are against crypto. Some banks offer crypto services and also issue digital currencies. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been at the forefront since recently announcing the offering of crypto services. Since then, the bank has unveiled more services for crypto holders.