Nordea Bank has openly criticized Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general since 2014. It has now gone a step further to ban all of its employees from owning cryptocurrencies. All employees at all levels have been put on notice: tellers, secretaries, IT personnel, and even cleaners and support staff.
It’s Not a Surprise
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Nordea has made this decision considering that it is one of the biggest Bitcoin critics out there. Chairman Björn Wahlroos is a staunch hater of Bitcoin, for its supposed lack of inflation and its anonymous properties. What’s more, President and CEO Casper von Koskull has often had his own harsh words to say.
Casper von Koskull calls Bitcoin a joke because of its decentralized nature. According to him, letting Bitcoin thrive is self-defeating considering that it is beyond governments’ and banks’ control. He sees no need to spend billions of dollars regulating the finance industry, when it isn’t possible to do so with Bitcoin.
However, it is a surprise that all employees are banned – it is one thing to ban those engaged directly in the bank’s transactions, but it is another thing to ban cleaners too.
Is it Legal?
Since Nordea made its announcement, people have been raising concerns about its legality. However, it just might be legal.
In many industries, it is considered a conflict of interest to have interests in something that you have objective contact with. For instance, a journalist is not allowed to have a financial interest in a company that he/she is covering. And, considering that Nordea is known for its criticism of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it would be considered a conflict of interest for its employees to own crypto. After all, it has the last word on who works there, so employees have no option but to comply.
Nordea is not the first bank to ban crypto for its employees. JP Morgan has also taken a tough stance on Bitcoin, and CEO Jamie Damon threatened to fire anyone even suspected of owning crypto.
Nordea is currently planning to lay off over 600 workers. Before that, however, it was involved in a deal that is seen as unfair to employees currently prohibited from owning crypto.
Nordea was involved in a capital relief deal, designed to cushion its investors from risk. Essentially, a capital relief deal protects investors’ risks on loans taken out by clients – in this case, the risks were worth almost $10 billion. Nordea was committed to the deal, but it abruptly pulled out without giving any reasons.
However, if Nordea does go ahead with its lay-off plans, then the 6000 employees would then be free to invest.
Do you think it is fair that Nordea is forbidding its employees from owning crypto? What would you do if you were a Nordea employee? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!