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Boden said companies offering cryptocurrency services still have a very long way to go when it comes to implementing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks.
Anne Boden, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of challenger bank, Starling has criticized the digital currency ecosystem in yet another way to show how less of a fan she is of the growing financial innovation. Speaking at the Money 20/20 fintech conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday, Boden said crypto “is very dangerous” as it poses a very huge risk to the existing payment infrastructure.
“A lot of [crypto] wallets are being connected directly to payment schemes,” Boden said. “This is a threat to the safety of our payment schemes around the world.”
As an industry veteran, Boden understands firsthand how the emergence of the crypto industry is shaping the financial landscape as her company is an active player in the digital payments ecosystem. Boden founded Starling bank in 2014, and through the backing of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) and Fidelity Investments amongst others, Starling bank now enjoys a private valuation of £2.5 billion ($3.1 billion).
While crypto has been tagged as an offshoot that facilitates money laundering offenses, it is no doubt also very revolutionary in offering a faster and relatively cheaper mode of cash settlement. While there are still entities like Starling Bank that are yet to warm up to the crypto train, top giants in the global payments ecosystem like Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: PYPL), Mastercard Inc (NYSE: MA), and Revolut amongst others have embraced cryptocurrencies in one form or the other.
But to Boden, customers have continued to be scammed through digital assets, further contributing to its broad negative outlook.
“Customers are being scammed,” the Starling chief said Tuesday. “We’re spending far more of our time protecting customers from the scammers than we are trying to promote crypto.”
Starling Bank Not Sure It Will Integrate Crypto in the Near Term
Starling bank is not looking at integrating cryptocurrencies in the near term as the majority of its competitors are currently exploring today. Boden confirmed this when asked whether the company will embrace digital currencies.
Boden said companies offering cryptocurrency services still have a very long way to go when it comes to implementing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks. While this is the general perception about crypto firms, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also posited that challenger banks are also not doing enough with respect to implementing AML controls.
The FCA came to this conclusion as it has conducted a probe into the systems of prominent digital banks, including Starling Bank, as confirmed by Anne Boden. Starling bank was not flagged for any wrongdoing, and as a result, complements the firm’s vocal stance about fraud-fighting.