The bank is reportedly warning its mobile banking customers to make sure they have control of their own cryptocurrency wallets as well as to be wary of individuals promising large profits in the crypto markets.
The warning follows NatWest saying it had received a “record number” of complaints regarding crypto scams between January and March, according to the BBC, around the same time that Bitcoin exploded in value and brought it to mainstream attention.
The alert on the bank’s mobile banking app also warned that customers could lose all of their money if they fall victim to a crypto scam, echoing similar statements from financial regulators including Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey.
Bitcoin resurgence, as well as the recent price crash in crypto markets last week, has reignited regulatory scrutiny of digital currencies as watchdogs across the world scramble to regain control of the mostly unregulated market.
Earlier this week, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority banned an ad campaign from crypto exchange Luno telling the public that it is “time to buy” Bitcoin, saying the adverts “gave the impression that Bitcoin investment was straightforward and accessible” and did not sufficiently indicate that digital currency was “complex, volatile, and could expose investors to losses”.
In late afternoon trading in London on Thursday, Bitcoin was up 2.8% in the last 24 hours at US$40,263, giving it a market cap of US$753.7bn.