ING Group Reveals Scrutinized Crypto Exchange Bitfinex Has Account With It

  • Dutch bank ING says Bitfinex has an account there
  • Bitfinex had no known banking since it ended its relationship with Wells Fargo last April
  • iFinex, Bitfinex's parent company, also owns Tether, who issued 2.2 billion tokens pegged to the US dollar

In a twist for the cryptocurrency ecosystem, Dutch financial services company ING Group recently revealed cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, under CFTC scrutiny, has a bank account with it in the Netherlands.

Bitfinex is currently one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume, and its parent company, iFinex, also owns Tether, a company that issues USDT tokens, supposedly backed by the US dollar at a 1:1 ratio. Last year, Bitfinex lost its relationship with Wells Fargo, and USDT token issuance rapidly increased shortly after.

Soon, critics started claiming Tether’s tokens weren’t actually backed by US dollars, as Bitfinex didn’t provide any proof of its reserves. Critics like Bitfinex’ed even suggested Tether was set up as a scheme to pump bitcoin, so Bitfinex could recover from losses it suffered when it was hacked back in August 2016 for 120,000 BTC. At press time, there are currently 2.2 billion USDT in circulation and subpoenas  have been sent to Tether and Bitfinex by the CFTC.

According to Reuters a spokesman for Amsterdam-based ING, Harold Reusken, revealed that Bitfinex was a customer at the bank, but didn’t comment any further citing customer confidentiality.

Resuken further revealed the bank does more due diligence when working with cryptocurrency transactions. He said:

“With companies that are active in the crypto market we are very reserved. Not with companies that are in traditional markets and receive or do payments with cryptocurrencies, but with parties that are in the chain of cryptocurrencies.”

Harold Resuken

Bitfinex hasn’t been willing to identify any banks it’s been working with, for unclear reasons. These could range from privacy and security issues, to ensuring authorities stay away from the funds, as suggested by BitMEX Research.

Last year, documents posted online seemingly showed Bitfinex had an account at Poland’s Bank Spoldzielczy, although at the time a bank official refused to reveal whether or not the exchange had an account there.

Two members of parliament in the Netherlands have asked the country’s finance minister for clarification on ING’s involvement with Bitfinex, after Dutch news outlet Follow The Money published a report on the relationship between both organizations.

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) notably subpoenaed Bitfinex and Tether on December 6, presumably because of its silence on the issue. Presumably because of the growing voice of concern from the crypto community and their unanswered questions surrounding the realness of the USD reserves and the legitimacy of their banking partners.

Microsoft's Bing Reportedly Blocked Over 5 Million Cryptocurrency Ads Last Year

Francisco Memoria

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has reportedly blocked over 5 million cryptocurrency-related ads last year, as a result of a ban the search engine enacted in an attempt to protect its users from fraudsters.

According to Bing’s ad quality review, the company’s bad account takedowns doubled in 2018, with cryptocurrency, weapons, and third-party tech support scams being the main problems it faced. Overall, Bing suspended “nearly 200,000 accounts” last year, and removed 900 million ads from its platform.

As covered, Bing banned cryptocurrency-related ads back in May, in a move it claimed was made to protect users from scammers, as the crypto market being unregulated meant cryptocurrencies “present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers.”

At the time Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, who published the company’s blog post on the move, wrote:

To help protect our users from this risk, we have made the decision to disallow advertising for cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency related products, and un-regulated binary options. Bing Ads will implement this change to our financial product and services policy globally in June, with enforcement rolling out in late June to early July.

The move saw cryptocurrencies join other questionable products and services Microsoft banned from its platform. These include Ponzi and pyramid schemes, and the mentioned third-party tech support scams.

Bing notably banned cryptocurrency-related ads following bans enacted by search giant Google and social media giant Facebook. These two firms have since started allowing crypto-related ads from a few companies.

At the time, various cryptocurrency associations threatened lawsuits against the tech giants over what they claimed to be “cartel collusion” against cryptos, made in an attempt to manipulate the market.

Although Microsoft’s search engine has banned crypto ads, the tech giant itself has been accepting bitcoin payments since 2014. Its website even has a how-to page walking users through the process of topping up their accounts using BTC.