bitcoin accounts

Norway’s Largest Online Bank Integrates Bitcoin Accounts

Norway’s largest internet-based bank has added a new feature tethering bitcoin accounts to the company’s web bank platform. Skandiabanken customers are now able to access Coinbase accounts giving members insight into their digital investments alongside their savings and checking accounts.

Also read: Crypto Tales Pt. 1: Odd Stories That Surface in Bitcoin-Land

Skandiabanken Recognizes Cryptocurrency as an Investment Class

Norway’s Largest Online Bank Integrates Bitcoin AccountsSkandiabanken executives are starting to see bitcoin as an asset class for the 21st century. “We recognize cryptocurrency as an investment class similar to other securities,” Christoffer Hernæs, Skandiabanken’s Head of Innovation and Development explains to local news outlets.

Skandiabanken conducts all of its services online and is currently the most popular internet bank in Norway. The bank believes customers will appreciate the new feature as it provides members with an overview of their digital investments. The service will initially only be offered to Skandiabanken customers using the bank’s payment platform.

Hernæs details that cryptocurrency is still a very nascent technology and economy. “It’s still an early phase for cryptocurrencies,” Hernæs states. “It may be ok to test the waters, without jumping into it head first.” The new feature constitutes as the “first step in a direction we believe in,” explains the Skandiabanken executive.

Norway’s Largest Online Bank Integrates Bitcoin Accounts
Skandiabanken’s new feature within the web bank interface.

Winners Will Be Those Who Collaborate With New Players and Technology

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.

Members of the Skandiabanken Norway branch can also use the service to purchase bitcoins via Paypal’s payment processor. Although some banking authorities believe bitcoin may be a scary technology, Hernæs explains Skandiabanken believes it’s a good idea to be in lockstep with new technologies.

“We acknowledge that this is something people want to put their money into,” says Hernæs. “Then we think it is the right time to look at new solutions we can offer. We think it’s a better approach than categorically thinking that this is scary.”

The bank winners will be those who collaborate with new players and new technology, not those who deny it.

The Skandiabanken feature is similar to the American financial services company USAA’s Coinbase integration. Back in November of 2015, USAA started a program allowing customers access to their Coinbase accounts using the firm’s online and mobile applications. Just like USAA’s program, Skandiabanken customers simply log into Coinbase through the bank’s login portal.

Norway Bitcoin Association Founder is Pleased With the Scandinavian Bank’s Decision also spoke with the founder of the Norway Bitcoin and Blockchain Association, Stephan Nilsson who says he’s pleased with the Scandinavian bank’s forward-thinking decision.

“We were very pleased to learn about Skandiabanken’s new cryptocurrency feature and that they are recognizing cryptocurrencies as an investment class,” explains Nilsson. “This shows that the Scandinavian bank, that has been in the front line for many years as an internet-only bank, now continues to be a leader in the fintech area, embracing new technologies like cryptocurrencies.”

This is a very important signal to the rest of the financial industry as well as to the society

“It represents a milestone in bitcoin usability when the everyday bank customer can handle cryptocurrencies in their web-bank just as easy as their savings and investment accounts,” Nilsson added.

What do you think about the Norwegian Internet-based bank offering visualization to bitcoin accounts? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Skandiabanken 

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  • danystatic

    Great article, and great choice of words. Collaborate with us, with Bitcoin, it’s going to happen and don’t deny it.

  • Golbalview

    I remember one very important midsize US bank president in 1994 saying to me the Internet was a flash in the pan and will never, ever, effect US retail customer banking transactions. At that time it seemed like most bankers had that opinion. Never says never bankers.

  • Daniel Alós

    It’s an absolute nonsense buying Bitcoin through a bank.
    Bitcoin was created precisally to not depend on banks.
    Bitcoin is peer to peer. Not need for the middle men. Remember?

    • eek04

      For converting fiat (regular currency) to Bitcoin, it’s a question of what has sane transaction costs (and transaction costs include time and hassle.)

      Yes, I could find somebody that has Bitcoin and wants fiat, bring a stack of hundred dollar bills, and hang out with the person for an hour while waiting for the transaction to confirm.

      Alternatively, I could do a few clicks in the web interface of my online banking, and get it that way. Two hours of my time (half an hour to find somebody and meet them, an hour to wait for transactions to confirm, half an hour to get back) is worth a lot. So assuming the privacy implications are tolerable to whatever requirements are present, the banking option makes a lot of sense.

    • Nicholas

      You cant trade Bitcoin in the bank. It will only display you’re Coinbase “wallet”. That said its a really good start.

    • Perfecto

      From a tax collection stand point, this is genius. Norwegian banks are obligated to report to the government yearly what a person owns. So that taxes obligations can be calculated