A ruling from Norway, between that of a Norwegian crypto investor and the Scandinavian banking behemoth Nordea, has concluded a court case concerning how accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges are managed by banks. The Oslo court ultimately ruled in favor of the bank, arguing that the ”elevated risk” of Bitcoin trade allowed the Scandinavian bank to close a user’s account.
This matter was taken to court by a Norwegian man named Sturle Sunde, who – in December of 2017 – reacted to Nordea’s decision to close accounts on the Norwegian cryptocurrency exchange Bitmynt AS. The decision to close Sunde’s account was reportedly due to ”concerns of inadequate anti-money laundering mechanisms”, as well as the potential risks related to terrorist financing.
Moreover, due to the nature of this suspension, Sunde was not able to register with the Norwegian Brønnøysund Register Center, which was necessary in order to establish Sunde’s limited liability. The Oslo court in charge of the matter has, however, dismissed Sunde’s claims and instead ruled that Nordea was not mistaken in closing his account, as the court declared that the risk carried by cryptocurrencies could be considered severe enough that it warranted the bank to deny its services, referring to a provision in the Norwegian Finance Contract Act.
The court also pointed to Sunde’s safety practices as an area which warranted the bank’s closer of his account. Sunde has used his personal expertise and intuition to discover potentially suspicious situations. Moreover, he also used customer contact as well as Wallet Explorer to find out trustworthy parties – something the bank did not deem sufficient to deter the risk of cryptocurrency trading.
However, it would seem that the court does not fully apprehend the magnitude of this ruling. Sunde pointed out – rightly so – that this verdict would practically entail a Norwegian ban of cryptocurrencies, or at least Bitcoin trading if enforced for all investors. Sunde went on to state that he was very disappointed in the ruling, and that he would appeal the decision.
Up until this point, Sunde has financed his legal expenses on his own. They have now reached a considerable sum of $124,000. Sunde said that in order to fund further legal action he might very well look to crowdfund his efforts. It is not impossible that the money could indeed be sourced from the community, as this is an important ruling – and which could have severe implications for the Norwegian Bitcoin community.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.