Nordea Institutes Cryptocurrency Trading Ban For Employees

Due to high risks and “insufficient” protection, the Nordic region’s largest bank will ban its approximately 31,000 employees from trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the company said on Monday (Jan. 22), according to news from Reuters.

“The risks are seen as too high, and the protection is insufficient for both the coworkers and the bank,” a Nordea spokeswoman told Reuters. While Nordea will not force employees to sell cryptocurrencies that they currently own, the bank recommends that they do so. For employees who do wish to trade in cryptocurrency, they will not be able to do so from Feb. 28 on.

Nordea is not the only financial institution that has approached cryptocurrency cautiously: Bank of America Merrill Lynch banned its clients from investing in a top fund led by bitcoin mogul Barry Silbert.

In 2013, Silbert reported that the Bitcoin Investment Trust, which he foundedreceived $70 millionin investments. At the time, he predicted that “hundreds of millions of dollars” would be moving into the virtual currency in 2014. Since then, the value of bitcoin has skyrocketed from $1,000 per coin in 2013 to  $17,428.42 in December of 2017.

Nordea’s announcement comes as bitcoin took a tumble on Wednesday (Jan. 17), dropping as much as 20 percent and dipping below the $10,000 mark, Reuters reported. By early evening, however, the currency had rebounded, hitting $11,153.21 at 5:25 P.M., according to CoinDesk.

Bitcoin wasn’t alone in its fall, as other cryptocurrencies lost value over investor concerns that regulators would take measures to curb speculation. Ethereum and Ripple, which are the second- and third-most popular cryptocurrencies after bitcoin, also fell following reports that South Korea and China could ban trading of cryptocurrencies. The news stoked fear of a wider regulatory crackdown.

Bitcoin may not have hit its bottom. Citi analysts believe the cryptocurrency could fall below $6,000 to a range between $5,605 and $5,673.

Earlier in 2018, the price of bitcoin plummeted overnight following reports that South Korea had decided to ban cryptocurrency trading. At the time, police and tax authorities had reportedly been raiding local exchanges on alleged tax evasion charges.