UniCredit Bank Might be Fined €131 Million for Improperly Closing the Account of a Crypto Miner

UniCredit Bank has been ordered to pay €131 million, equivalent to $143.84 million as punishment to the impacted company after a two-year dispute over the closure of a bank account linked to a crypto mining farm.

According to La Repubblica on Sunday, the famous Italian bank’s local branch in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was summoned to the local court in a case filed by the country’s affiliate of the Italian crypto mining business Bitminer Factory.

The bank was implicated in the case of wrongfully closing accounts connected to the company, which touts itself as the first and largest mining operation in Italy. The court agreed with the company’s claim that it had sustained damage and granted it compensation of €131 million.

The mining farm said that upon closing the accounts, the damages from the closed accounts “hindered its initial coin offering (ICO) in relation to a startup project in the cryptocurrency mining sector with renewable energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The Bitminer Factory d.o.o Gradiska opened in Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the cheap electricity prices, and UniCredit Bank Banja Luka was the bank chosen by the mining farm for its accounts. 

The mining farm repeatedly sent a multitude of requests to withdraw the money from the cryptocurrency mined by the operation. However, the bank refused to comply with the requests on the grounds of “not being able to do business with digital currency suppliers and exchange platforms.”

The bank, on the other hand, had failed to show that it had any documented regulations forbidding the development of commercial connections with clients trading in cryptocurrency, according to the court.

The bank has appealed the decision against the court’s judgment, alleging that it is not final, binding, or enforceable, as per local media.

The bank also said that the “possible liability will be determined only by the definitive outcome of all available procedural remedies and not before the filing of a definitive and binding sentence by the appeals court.”

The decision of the mining farm to set up shop in Bosnia and Herzegovina was inspired by the large quantities of electricity required to mine Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and the reduced electricity costs in the country.

All around the world, miners have been trying to find ways to cope with the high costs and reduce them, and these methods have included either illegally obtaining electricity worth millions, or doing something innovative such as making solar-powered mining rigs operational.