A giant Northern European bank, Nordea Bank AB, now headquartered in Finland, has allegedly enacted a company policy which forbids its employees from owning or trading in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Since publication, a bank employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, forwarded evidence the large institution is indeed going ahead with such plans.
Word spread 12 January 2018 on Twitter Nordea Bank “forbids all their employees (at least in Sweden) to stop owning and trading $btc and other cryptocurrencies. This applies to secretaries, IT personal [sic], cleaners and any bank staff employed by the company. Is it legal even?,” asked Twitter user @samisin.
Nordea Bank AB has more than half a trillion dollars in assets and is one of the largest banks in Northern Europe.
The alleged move might not be a surprise to long-term watchers of the bank and its executive team, but the once Swedish bank’s current executive team have a long history of on-the-record scepticism toward bitcoin. Executives have long worried about cryptocurrency and its lack of regulation, and more recently Nordea’s President and CEO Casper von Koskull complained about the fact bitcoin was allowed to exist without jumping through all the hoops of the traditional banking system, referring to the phenomenon as “a joke.”
Von Koskull explained, “If you somehow allow that to live without controls, then, given the billions we spend on financial regulation as a financial system, I mean, I think it’s actually a joke that you then just let something like bitcoin live. I don’t get it – it’s absurd.”
Chairman Björn Wahlroos’ opinions on bitcoin go back to at least 2014, and he lamented the decentralized currency’s supposed anonymous properties and its lack of inflation — two aspects most enthusiasts cherish.
Bitcoin’s value, however, is exactly that: it could not have existed if brought through the regular cartel channel of state-backed banks such as Nordea. Its precise reason for being is to defy minders and bureaucratic middle persons, landing in the hands of ordinary, uncredentialed and unlicensed peoples.