As the traditional banking system continues to incorporate electronic and digital payments, the latest Wells Fargo outage illustrates that all is not well in the light of similar events this year with other major card service suppliers.
With the US’s fourth-largest bank by assets falling foul of an ATM glitch in its system last week, denying customers access to their funds, Bitcoin- and cryptocurrency-dedicated websites and blogs wasted no time in pointing the way to hassle-free access to savings. Even though Wells Fargo suggested they had fixed the issue, customers continued to be shut out of their accounts on their computers or smartphones for days.
The company really didn’t need this problem after the most ironic case for cryptocurrency investors last year when Wells Fargo was hit with a USD 575 million settlement after scamming its customers over a period of 15 years; this after they had conducted their own poll of US investors in 2018, claiming a skeptical 72% majority “have no interest in ever buying Bitcoin” and 75% who find Bitcoin to be “very risky”.
As banking institutions race to upgrade systems, some admitting that blockchain may be a bonafide solution to the problem, outages continue to plague the banks. Both Mastercard and Visa went down in the space of a few weeks in July last year, both companies receiving a deluge of customer complaints from those unable to complete payments, along with a barrage of crypto tweets advocating Bitcoin.
In Europe, Spanish-owned British bank TSB also suffered a protracted meltdown in their system locking out customers for days costing the bank some USD 425 million and alienating account holders. David Thomas of cryptocurrency brokerage GlobalBlock couldn’t resist commenting on Wells Fargo’s latest misfortune:
“All manners of sardonic posts have been seen on social media channels following the event with many finding it hard to believe that in this day and age the infrastructure could be quite so antiquated and vulnerable to a melt-down.”
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