The sky is beginning to clear a little.
This from the Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2023:
A few weeks ago, crypto circles were abuzz with talk that Washington was plotting to kill crypto by cutting off its access to the banking system in what some commentators dubbed “Operation Choke Point 2.0.”
Those fears have now somewhat abated, as banks have stepped up to fill the vacuum created after Silvergate shut down and Signature was placed in receivership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. earlier this month.
“There are dozens of other banks, both onshore and offshore, that are taking advantage of this opportunity,” said Rich Rosenblum, co-founder and president of crypto trading firm GSR.
True enough, but it can still be a rather challenging gauntlet to run in finding a bank, setting up an account and getting comfortable with your banking provider.
Hundreds of businesses lost their crypto business banking accounts with the implosions of Signature, Silvergate and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
SVB banked a large number of SaaS companies who now feel a little less than sanguine about banking with the FDIC-operated bank.
Below is a list of banks, domestic and near-shore, that we currently believe are providing banking services to companies engaged in the crypto industry.
There are three categories of crypto companies needing banking.
- Low Risk: Companies engaged in the crypto industry which provide services to other companies in the industry, and generally deal in fiat currencies for revenue and expenses. They may occasionally accept a crypto payment into a wallet, but quickly convert their coins into fiat and deposit into a bank. Example: SaaS companies.
- Medium Risk (perceived): Companies engaged in the crypto Industry which provide services to other companies in the industry, and deal in fiat currencies for revenue and expenses, or accept crypto payments and make crypto payments. Example: Miners.
- High Risk: Companies which handle the crypto accounts of others, hold inventories of crypto assets, make and receive payments in crypto, and make a market in coins, or have issued their own coins. Example: Wallets, exchanges, or protocols.
For purposes of this article, we will only be dealing with banks which deal with companies in the low and medium risk categories.
High Risk wallet and exchange banking requires a level of banking sophistication that is rarely needed by typical crypto companies.
It’s been our experience that wallets and exchanges already have some, if not many, banks that they rely on in multiple countries.
We denote “perceived” Medium Risk because if a banking customer only interacts with the bank in fiat currencies, we struggle to see what the potential risk for the bank is.
The exception being potential regulatory actions at some point in the future which might paint all crypto companies with a wide brush and cause compliance issues with a bank.
In the list below, one thing to consider is whether you want to consider using a national bank, super regional (covering several states) or regional bank.
Using a national bank, once you have matriculated their risk review process, gives you the opportunity to remain rather small relative to the myriad other accounts they have.
But a national bank (truthfully, any bank) may decide that it needs to exit from crypto for reasons that have nothing to do with your specific account or niche.
You could wake up one morning to a wholesale exit from any business associated with crypto.
Which merits the discussion of "Should I have two active banking accounts?"
Unfortunately, despite the inconvenience, it may be a prudent choice.
LIST OF BANKS
National Banks: As of 3/28/2023, these banks continue to bank the Low and Medium risk categories are:
Domestic Super Regional and Regional Banks: As of 3/28/2023), these banks are banking Low and (varies) Medium risk crypto companies:
- Cross River Bank
- Customers Bancorp
- Fifth Third Bancorp
- Mercury Bank
- Surety Bank
- United Texas Bank
- Western Alliance Bank
Near-Shore Banks: As of 3/28/2023, these banks are banking Low and Medium risk crypto companies:
This list is not meant to be exhaustive.
If you know of additional banks (or you are a bank!) that is/are providing banking services for crypto businesses, send us a quick note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to add them to this list.
We're all in this together.
Good luck and happy bank hunting(?).