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Nordea imposes Bitcoin ban across all of bank's departments

[COPENHAGEN] The biggest Nordic bank sent a memo to all its employees on Monday informing them that they will not be allowed to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Nordea Bank AB will impose the ban from Feb 28, after the board agreed to take a stand due to the "unregulated nature" of the market, spokeswoman Afroditi Kellberg said by phone. The bank had about 31,500 employees at the end of the third quarter.

Nordea said the updated policy "includes transitional provisions for staff with existing holdings and allows for certain exceptions," according to an email sent to Bloomberg.

Employees who already own bitcoin are "permitted to keep existing holdings." The bank initially started by imposing a ban on some bankers in its wholesale unit.

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The bank's chief executive officer, Casper von Koskull, voiced his skepticism toward the cryptocurrency back in December. In an interview in Stockholm, the CEO called Bitcoin an "absurd" construction that defied logic. He also said "there's a lot of evidence that Bitcoin is basically being used for financial crime".

Nordea cited a lack of rules protecting investors, and listed risks ranging from volatility to liquidity and financial crime. "Given these high risks, and in line with our role in the banking industry to maintain high standards of conduct, Nordea is not supportive of staff investing in cryptocurrencies," the bank said.

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