They may have rejected the Euro but Denmark continues to welcome other, more unorthodox currencies. Bitcoin and other blockchain funds are big business here and Danish innovators are becoming something of a driving force on the global scene.
As one of the Scandinavian countries, along with Sweden and Norway, that are actively moving towards going cashless, embracing virtual currency seems like a natural progression. However, even adoption of bitcoin, the leading digital currency, isn’t unopposed.
On 17 December 2013, Denmark's Finanstilsynet, the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) responsible for the regulation of the country’s financial markets, issued a statement saying that doing business with bitcoin does not fall under its regulatory authority.
This hasn’t changed. In fact, it was announced soon after that bitcoin trading is exempt from being taxed by the Danish government. While the FSA could alter financial legislation to include digital currencies, there are no immediate signs of this happening. Far from restricting growth or uptake, investments and interest continue to flood in.
Despite the FSA’s current stance, Coinify, the blockchain payment service provider based in Denmark, recently secured a $4m investment. The impact of the backing from SEB Venture Capital, a leading financial services group, and venture fund SEED Capital Denmark, could prove to be more valuable than the financial outlay.
Co-Founder and CEO of Coinify, Mark Højgaard, said “the fact that our current investors are joined by a classic, yet very visionary bank dating back to 1856, sends a strong message to both the banking and the Blockchain communities.” Needless to say, Banks, blockchain enthusiasts and bitcoin holders will all be paying close attention.
Earlier this year, Coinify processed the first real estate transaction using blockchain currency in the Nordic region. The 117 bitcoin purchase, which equates to 290,000 DKK or $50,000, is likely to be the start of a trend rather than an outlier. As more banks and people get involved, the changes to how and what we spend will influence more than what the currency is called.
Whatever your stance on going cashless, or whether significant financial transactions should be done via a trusted 3rd party, it is seemingly a matter of time before the Blockchain starts to welcome more and more transactions to its constantly growing public ledger. Denmark and the rest of the Nordic region are just ahead of the curve.