Venezuelan Bank (Banesco) Shuts Down Bank Account of Venezuelan Cryptocurrency Exchange SurBitcoin; Clients Told to Use LocalBitcoins

Venezuelan bitcoin exchange SurBitcoin told its clients today to withdraw their cash and cryptocurrency balances after the exchange's bank account at Banesco, the largest financial institution in Venezuela, was abruptly shut down, "Dear customer, yesterday we received a communication from the management of Banesco where we are informed that our bank account will be closed today 03/02/2017," said SurBitcoin.

The exchange explained that services will be down for several weeks as new financial partnerships are forged:
“We expect to resume operations in approximately 2 weeks.”
SurBitcoin has not provided any details on why Banesco has decided to stop providing banking services. However, the Venezuelan bank may have grown increasingly wary of digital currency businesses in light of last week’s bust of a bitcoin mining farm in Carabobo, which was carried out by the Organized Crime Bureau of the Bolivarian National Police.

Additionally, SurBitcoin told clients to use P2P bitcoin marketplace LocalBitcoins for the time being. LocalBitcoins volumes have been surging in Venezuela for the last few months as Venezuela's national currency, the bolivar, has completely collapsed.

The same trend can also be seen in neighbouring Colombia, where bitcoin turnover on LocalBitcoins surged to an all-time high last week.