Chilean Anti-Monopoly Court Rules in Favor of Crypto Exchanges

The Chilean anti-monopoly court has sided with local cryptocurrency exchanges, ruling that banks cannot close the accounts of exchange platforms.

The Chilean anti-monopoly court has ruled in favor of local cryptocurrency exchanges and preventing banks that operate in the country from closing the accounts of said exchanges, reports Chilean news outlet Diario Financiero. The decision came after BancoEstado and Itaú asked the Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) to close accounts of cryptocurrency brokers in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling.

According to crypto exchange Buda.com – one of the platforms affected by the banking restriction – in a recent poll, the majority of the anti-monopoly court judges voted against the banks, effectively granting protection to the digital assets exchanges.

TDLC scheduled the next hearing for February, which will be attended by high-ranking officials of the country, including the ministers of Finance, Felipe Larrain, of Economy, Jose Ramon Valente, and the President of the Chilean Banking Association, Segismundo Schulin-Zeuthen. The anti-monopoly court will hear the testimonies of both parties involved in the case.

In early December the Chilean Supreme Court ruled in favor of the banks, stating they have the legal right not to provide services to cryptocurrency exchange platforms. The Supreme Court argued that such platforms might be associated with money laundering, as they are not covered by the country’s regulations. As a consequence, Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca appealed to the anti-monopoly court in an effort to cancel protection measures and allow them to close crypto-related accounts.

However, TDLC insists the Supreme Court’s ruling “does not constitute a new precedent that will change the resolution,” and thus the previous anti-monopoly resolutions shall remain enforced.

In March of 2018, three Chilean cryptocurrency exchange platforms – CryptoMKT, OrionX, and Buda.com – accused Chilean banks of unlawfully freezing their bank accounts. As a result, TDLC granted them protection, and the country’s Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain promised the introduction of a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. However, such regulations are yet to be implemented.

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