Even Italian banks look at the success of cryptocurrencies with a certain suspicion, mixed with fear.
The case of Unicredit
In January, a Twitter statement from the customer service department of Italy’s leading bank Unicredit, issued in response to a question posed by a bank user regarding cryptocurrencies, warned of the risk of account closure for bank customers detected to be investing in cryptocurrencies.
The fuss created by this careless statement, to say the least, has forced the bank’s top management to make a hasty turnaround and clearly deny the widespread rumors of possible account closure for customers investing in cryptocurrencies.
Italian banks and cryptocurrencies, what does the Consob say?
Consob, the regulatory authority for the stock exchange, has warned of the risks to the banking world from the deregulation of decentralized finance and the excessive spread of the cryptocurrency market.
Intesa San Paolo, another Italian banking giant has practically followed Consob’s directives, and has not yet included cryptocurrencies among its investment services, precisely because of the lack of a regulatory framework in this regard. The bank has been looking at blockchain technology with great interest for about five years now, as can be read in the blog of the company’s website
“Intesa Sanpaolo’s experience in blockchain began five years ago and the Group expects relevant results from this area in the coming years. In fact, blockchain is a technology that immediately attracted the attention of the financial world – and not only – because it promises to guarantee transparency and immutability of the information and assets exchanged, allowing greater simplification and efficiency in the launch of new business models and services”.
Other major Italian banks such as Bpm and Bper are similarly not allowing their account holders to invest in cryptocurrencies. By contrast, those who stand out from other Italian banks on the cryptocurrency issue seem to be Banca Generali.
After having signed a partnership agreement, in December 2020, with the Italian exchange Conio, the credit institution of the historic Italian insurance group, announced that very soon it will offer its customers the possibility to invest in cryptocurrencies.
It would be the first case of an Italian banking institution to offer a service for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, but it is likely that soon other banking institutions may join the Trieste-based institution and expand their offer of investment services for customers to include digital currencies.