Barclays has cut ties with digital currency exchange Coinbase, forcing Coinbase to look elsewhere for a U.K. partner and temporarily eliminating Coinbase's access to the U.K. Faster Payments Scheme (FPS). Challenger bank ClearBank has stepped in as Coinbase's new partner, and is expected to restore Coinbase's FPS access by the end of Q3 2019.
Companies that handle cryptocurrency have a tough time getting banking partners, with almost all big-name banks eschewing that business. Hence, when Coinbase obtained a bank account with Barclays in early 2018, the news was greeted with some fanfare. The exchange was also granted an e-money license by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and was the first crypto firm to gain access to FPS. Since then, word on the street is that Barclays got cold feet about crypto clients; people have varying opinions on why this might be the case, but nobody knows for sure.