As the Ukrainian government moved to legalize Bitcoin (BTC) amid ongoing Russian military attacks, some of the biggest local banks have reportedly banned their customers from buying BTC using the national currency.
PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest commercial bank, has temporarily banned its customers from buying Bitcoin with the national currency, the hryvnia (UAH), industry publication Forklog reported Thursday.
Quoting a PrivatBank spokesperson, the report notes that PrivatBank’s latest restrictions are in line with an order from the National Bank of Ukraine. The restrictions would apply during the current period of martial law in the country.
The statement came shortly after Binance’s Ukrainian division reported on PrivatBank’s cryptocurrency restrictions on Wednesday.
“We would like to inform you that PrivatBank will not support operations with UAH on all crypto exchanges without exception from March 2022,” Binance Ukraine announced in a Facebook post.
Binance also advised its customers to use its peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange service, noting that other banks may make a similar decision at any time.
According to the bank’s official website, PrivatBank has taken several measures to maintain financial stability under martial law, including providing credit holidays and increasing withdrawal limits. PrivatBank did not respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
The first reports of PrivatBank’s crypto-related restrictions surfaced in late February, with some users reporting that banks were blocking user accounts associated with P2P crypto exchanges like LocalBitcoins.
What are the alternatives for sending money to Ukrainians using crypto? Privatbank let us down. https://t.co/jIOmG7ZhjT
— claberus Слава Україні! (@claberus) February 26, 2022
Related: Ukraine Finds an Unlikely Ally in Efforts to Ban Russian Access to Crypto: Russia’s Central Bank
On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a law establishing a legal framework for the country to operate a regulated crypto market. The Ukrainian government was actively working on adopting regulations, with the Ukrainian parliament passing the legislation in second reading in mid-February.