The CEO of Goldman Sachs-backed digital bank Starling has stepped up his condemnation of cryptocurrency, calling it a threat to the security of payment systems.
“It is very dangerous,” Anne Boden, who founded Starling in 2014, warned Tuesday at the Money 20/20 fintech conference in Amsterdam. Based in Britain, Starling offers fee-free checking accounts and loans through an app. The firm was last privately valued at £2.5 billion ($3.1 billion) and counts the likes of Goldman and Fidelity as investors.
“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.”
Major payment processors are adopting cryptocurrencies; for example, credit card giants Mastercard and Visa opened their networks to digital assets, and PayPal now allows customers to exchange bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Regulators are concerned that the banking system is getting more intertwined with the unpredictable realm of cryptocurrency.
Approximately $400 billion has been deducted from the total value of all cryptocurrencies in the last month, as investors were alarmed by the collapse of terraUSD, a popular so-called stablecoin that was supposed to be worth $1 at all times.
Boden has previously cautioned about the hazards of the cryptocurrency space. She has previously warned about the potential of people becoming victims of fraud as a result of their investments in cryptocurrency.
“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.”
When asked if Starling will ever provide cryptocurrency, Boden said it was unlikely in the next several years, noting that crypto businesses have a lot of catching up to do in terms of anti-money laundering regulations.
The Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom revealed the conclusions of a review in April, concluding that online-only challenger banks are not doing enough to combat financial crime.
The regulator did not name any companies, but Starling confirmed that its systems had been inspected, with a representative noting the company had been “very vocal” in its fight against fraud.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)