During yesterday’s afternoon, several major Bulgarian banks closed the accounts held by the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges and also blocked transfers to and from any international exchange platforms. The affected exchange platforms have temporarily suspended their services.
The main reason for this decision is rumoured to be the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions and the fact that these transactions are difficult to reverse, which is a risk that the banks were not willing to take and have all decided to shut these accounts down in a coordinated fashion.
The government has not taken any stance with regards to this and the banks seem to have acted on their own.
According to a post from the administrator of the Bulgarian Bitcoin forum, the closed bank accounts correspond to some banks such as Fibank and United Bulgarian Bank (UBB). In the same thread, the alleged managing director of an affected company, Neven Dilkov, wrote that not all banks in the country have taken this decision:
“I spoke with Societe Generale and Piraeus separately [and] both banks do not have a problem with companies working with cryptocurrencies.”
Affected exchange platforms include Cix.bg, Crypto.bg, and Cryptobank.bg. Additionally, the fact that the Ethereum network is highly congested lead to these platforms suspending transactions with Ether too. The only way in which you can buy Bitcoin in Bulgaria at the moment is through Coinbase and LocalBitcoins.
This harsh decision comes after Bulgaria made headlines again as law enforcement agents seized Bitcoin worth more than $3 million USD. It remains unclear what the Bulgarian government is planning to do with the seized funds.