Why do the big banks use ugly tricks against the Swedish Bitcoin entrepreneurs and how many Swedes really own Bitcoin? VA.se has met the researcher Robin Teigland for answers.Bitcoin has recently received much attention for its alleged role in illegal trade, money laundering, and gaming and betting online. In recent months, more attention has also been paid to the sluggish exchange rate against the dollar. Since the beginning of November, the value of the digital currency has almost doubled and, at the time of writing, a Bitcoin is worth over $ 400.
The advocates believe that Bitcoin is more inflation-protected than traditional currencies, it cuts off unnecessary intermediaries and is more global. But what does the future look like for Bitcoin, and how are the established banks reacting to a new, difficult-controlled currency to get a foothold? VA.se sat down and talked to Robin Teigland, Associate Professor at Stockholm School of Economics, to answer the questions.
She was the initiator behind and one of the organizers of a Bitcoin seminar held at the Stockholm School of Economics in October. There was a lot of interest among the participants, including individuals and academics as well as bank officials and employees at the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, the Riksbank and the Swedish Tax Agency.
What makes you interested in Bitcoin?
“I became interested in Bitcoin several years ago. It is fascinating how fast the movement has evolved and that people from all over the world have been able to self-organize themselves effectively over the internet around a single project.
In addition, it is an interesting way to streamline cash flows. Why should it take time and cost big sums to send money across the globe when it can be as easy as sending a Tweet? Otherwise, it is the most cryptologists and some economists who have broken themselves from the research world. From an organizational perspective, interest has been small.
But development is interesting. First, the challenges came from within their own group now when Bitcoin grows and gets more attention, they come from outside. ”
How have the banks reacted to Bitcoin’s development?
“I’ve talked to Swedish Bitcoin entrepreneurs who have started ‘exchanger’ (a kind of exchange centers) and they say they are faced with a lot of unwillingness from the bigger banks.
Entrepreneurs tell them that they have frozen their accounts and that money sent by their customers has been on wildlife. When they call the bank and wonder where the money has gone, banks respond that they can track the money for a fee.
According to the contractors, the banks are aware of this in order to put them in the wheel. This is said to be going on in England as well. But the entrepreneurs also say that the smaller banks are significantly more positive to Bitcoin. ”
Does the big bank see Bitcoin as a threat?
“I have not yet talked to the banks, so I do not know. But maybe they have not answered the question enough and only read about the negative aspects of money laundering, hacking and the like and therefore do not want to do with Bitcoin.
Or maybe they see Bitcoin as a threat. If I can send money abroad quickly, at a very low cost, while both I and the recipient have to pay hundreds of kronor if I go via a big bank, then I would rather choose Bitcoin …
I sat at a Bitcoin Entrepreneur last week when a 50-year-old woman knocked on the door and wanted to buy bitcoins. She told her that her 18-year-old son had told her to buy Bitcoins.
“I see it as an investment and I hate banks,” she said.
Perhaps some of Bitcoin’s successes can be explained by the financial crisis. There is a view among many that it has been caused, among other things, by the banks’ greed. ”
Why do not banks open their own exchanger?
“I do not know. Banks need to start thinking differently about their business models.” The Internet is making everything more efficient. “The Internet removes the power of major key players in many industries. Now the trip may have come to the banks.
But the banks have already built the entire security device so why would not they be able to open the exchanger? ”
How many Swedes own Bitcoin?
“A Swedish entrepreneur and I have made a conservative assessment that around 20,000 Swedes own Bitcoin today, then we have calculated their customers and taken into account double counting.
But it should be remembered that not all Swedes have their Bitcoin in Sweden. I have myself Bitcoins on an exchange outside Sweden, “says Robin and shows a physical gold-loving Bitcoin, which she has purchased from a Swedish entrepreneur.
It is perhaps an ironic development that the currency that began as a digital alternative to the national currencies has gone round and received physical manifestations. But after ‘Wallets’, or wallets with Bitcoins, have been hacked, physical Bitcoin has grown in popularity. The coin as Robin shows up has a hologram in which the data drive itself.
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