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.
Skandiabanken Recognizes Cryptocurrency as an Investment Class
Skandiabanken 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.
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
Bitcoin.com 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.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Skandiabanken