Why Nordea banning bitcoin will backfire

First published on Breakit.se
Link: https://www.breakit.se/artikel/11109/nordeas-bitcoin-forbud-ar-lika-larvigt-som-om-nokia-forbjod-skype
Written and translated by: Christoffer De Geer, Vice President, www.bt.cx

In the article “Nordea förbjuder anställda att handla med bitcoin” which translates into “Nordea forbids all employees to trade bitcoin” we learn that the CEO of Nordea, Casper Von Koskull has forbidden all his employees to trade bitcoin. 31000 employees now suddenly have an arbitrary rule to follow that forbids them to invest in what will revolutionise the way we transfer value. But it does not stop here. Casper von Koskull has also as a consequence forbidden his employees to learn about bitcoin. Because the only way to understand this technology is by trying it out, and how do you try our the future of money if you are not allowed to buy them?

Why this will have negative consequences for Nordea

Nordea has, through this action, also forbidden the whole company from learning and adapting to what is coming. The technology is unfortunately here to stay, and if people find it easier and better they will start using it. Whatever the board has decided. Nordea is thus doomed to never being able to adapt since the company never grasped the technology. Because the only way to understand this technology fully is to try to use it for sending money from Sweden to China in 10 minutes on a Saturday.

Year after year banks like Nordea have been seated comfortably in their own golden cage protected from the need to adapt thanks to regulations and barriers of entry. But now with bitcoin, the old rules does not apply anymore. This is since bitcoin does not want to enter the cage they are protecting themselves in, but instead everyone will want to come out, including Nordeas employees and their customers if Nordea does not adapt.

Some comparisons

To make my reasoning easier to digest i would like to compare this situation to fictional examples on how absurd we today would find it if companies would have reacted similarly to important technological changes in history.

“Microsoft’s employees are forbidden by Bill Gates to use the Internet”

“Nokia’s CEO forbids its employees to use Skype”

“Kodak’s employees are forbidden to use the cameras on their smartphones”

“The CEO of the National Encyclopedia forbids its employees to read Wikipedia”

These examples are of course silly, and they are meant to be. They are silly since this is in my view just as silly as trying to forbid your employees from buying bitcoin. Technology is just technology. There is nothing inherently good or evil in it. It is just what we make of it. But, there is not much to do. It is just sad that Nordea will be the last bank in Finland to understand that the world is changing.

As a conclusion I would like to say that historically we have not seen anyone successfully adapt these types of technologies to themselves, but rather, successful companies have adapted to the technology itself. No one has successfully adapted the internet, telephony or television broadcasting to themselves. The blockchain will be no different. Kodak, Nokia, Compaq and Blockbuster did not adapt to their adapting environment, will Nordea?

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