18.05.2017

Norway's big bank permits bitcoin investments

400The Norwegian Skandianbanken, independent of its Swedish counterpart, is rolling out a new feature which allows customers to integrate their Bitcoin wallets, checking the value of their holdings at the same time they check their bank accounts, according to local publication E24.

Through an integration of the Coinbase wallet, which enables the buying and storing of cryptocurrency holdings in bitcoin, ether and litecoin, the bank’s customers now have direct access to these holdings using Skandiabanken’s online banking.

Skandianbanken joins the ranks of several other global banks and financial institutions exploring blockchain technology, although it is the first to unveil such a direct integration with cryptocurrencies. Santander Bank, CME Group, and Goldman-Sachs, to name a few institutions, have announced divisions and initiatives centered around blockchain.

The inclusion of Bitcoin in its online banking platform has aroused enthusiasm from the Norwegian Bitcoin community. Speaking to E24, Head of Innovation and Development at Skandiabanken, Christoffer Hernæs, argues that more and more Norwegians are eyeing the digital currency saying they have realized that Bitcoin is something people want to put their money in and they think it is a better approach rather than perceiving it as scary.

The head of Norway’s Bitcoin association, Stephan Nilsson, is pleased about Skandiabanken’s new Bitcoin service: “This is very positive. These are the signals we have been waiting for from the Norwegian banking industry.”

Strict financial regulations in Norway, specifically to curtail money laundering and the financing of terrorist organizations, require banks know the origin of money involved in a transaction which, due to Bitcoin’s inherent anonymity, can cause problems.

Currently, Norwegian tax officials classify bitcoin as a property and is a taxable income according to the country’s Tax Act. Hernæs says Skandiabanken customers will be notified of these requirements if they decide to utilize the bank’s bitcoin services.


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