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Bank of America Doesn’t Like Anonymity of Cryptocurrencies

Bank of America (BofA) CEO Brian Moynihan said on a conference call on Wednesday that they have “limited our relationships [with Bitcoin] and I think the thing speaks for itself.”

Moynihan also said that their clients would be able to buy cryptocurrency, just not through Merrill Lynch, a division of BofA. “And so it’s just our view that customers should be careful here,” he added. According to him, the bank is concerned with not being able to identify who’s buying and selling. “That’s one of the intellectual problems,” he said.

This comes after Merrill Lynch told employees last month not to offer clients Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), a financial instrument directly holding the digital coin, as the brokerage broadly eschews the virtual currency. This decision was due to concerns about the "suitability and eligibility standards of this product," as stated in an internal memo circulated to around 17,000 employees.

However, according to TokenRadar24, “Bank of America has applied for or received at least 43 patents for blockchain. This is the most of any major bank or technology firm.” This seems to be part of a pattern: even though Visa CEO Alfred Kelly doesn’t see Bitcoin as a “payment system player”, Visa has already expressed interest in the underlying blockchain technology as far back as 2015. In the words of British political economist and journalist Will Hutton, “Bitcoin is a bubble, but the technology behind it could transform the world,” and this seems to be the motto of many large players.

It is worth noting that this applies only to buying GBTC in a brokerage account, like Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge. There is no evidence of BofA otherwise blocking their users from investing in crypto.

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