An act of paternalism or a case of generic Bitcoin (BTC) distrust? It is hard to make out the exact reasons for Nordea Bank’s ban on its 31,500 employees trading in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies — even on their own time — a prohibition that was upheld on Dec. 2 by a Danish court.
In a press release posted by the court following its ruling, Nordea Bank noted that, "Employees are permitted to keep any existing [crypto] holdings,” though it added that they were encouraged to sell them.
As reported by Cointelegraph, Denmark’s finance industry union, Finansforbundet, brought a class-action lawsuit against Nordea’s cryptocurrency prohibition in 2018 on the grounds that the ban interfered with employees’ personal lives. It appears that the bank, the largest financial group in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), was worried that its employees might unwittingly get mixed up with some unethical or even criminal activities. As a spokesperson for Nordea Bank told Cointelegraph after the Copenhagen labor court’s decision:
“The market for crypto-currencies is unregulated and not transparent. It makes it hard to monitor where the money comes from. It increases the risk that investors, including our employees, may unwillingly get involved in activities that are unethical or outright illegal.”
This sort of prohibition is unique, in the view of Michael Reuter, co-chairman of the Germany-based European Blockchain Association e.V, who told Cointelegraph, “It is highly unusual that a private bank prohibits trading of crypto currencies for all its [31,000-plus] employees. From our experience this could be the first time, ever.”