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BCB Group pauses US dollar payments pilot after Signature Bank closure

Quick Take

  • BCB Group paused a U.S. dollar payments pilot after partner Signature Bank was shut down by regulators.
  • The London-based startup is now trying to accelerate partnerships with three unnamed U.S. banks, despite a challenging regulatory climate.

BCB Group, a London-based provider of payment services and business accounts for crypto firms, halted a planned U.S. dollar payments program after regulators shut down Signature Bank earlier today.

Shortly after the suspension of Silvergate Bank’s Silvergate Exchange Network on March 3, BCB Group founder and CEO Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie told CoinDesk that the company would roll out U.S. dollar payments tools to help plug the gap. 

Von Landsberg-Sadie told The Block today that BCB Group already had 6 existing clients ready to test that system as part of a limited pilot program, and said the firm executed its first instant U.S. dollar transaction on March 10. 

But BCB Group had relied on Signature Bank — which was seized by state regulators on March 12 — to power the program. 

BCB Group used Signature Bank for “trade settlement and for U.S. dollar payment accounts,” von Landsberg-Sadie told The Block, meaning those services must now be paused until new partnerships are in place. BCB Group’s payments products in other currencies continue as usual.

“It’s sad to see [Signature Bank] go, but hopefully we can provide continuity for our clients through three new U.S. bank relationships going live soon. We’ll just have to accelerate those, mindful of how sustainable they’ll be under the Fed’s crypto-sceptic views,” von Landsberg-Sadie said.

Banks in turmoil

The interruption comes after a chaotic weekend in the U.S. banking sector that saw regulators step in to close down both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. The former was first shut down by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation appointed as the receiver, on March 10. The New York Department of Financial Services then seized crypto-friendly Signature Bank in order “to protect depositors,” the state banking regulator said in a Sunday night announcement.

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