Swedbank recently froze a customer's account after it found out about her selling five bitcoins on a digital currency marketplace.
The customer, who asked not to be named, said the Swedish bank froze her account a few days after she sold her bitcoins on LocalBitcoins.com.
"I sold the bitcoins on 4th September 2013. I could see that the money had been deposited into my bank account. When I checked my account a few days later I could see that it was blocked and I couldn’t do any transactions on my account," she explained.
The customer went on to say she was particularly frustrated that the bank didn't try to contact her before freezing her account.
On 11th September, her account was still blocked, so she wrote to Swedbank to ask for an explanation. The bank responded a week later asking about the transaction she had made on LocalBitcoins.com.
"Then a guy from the bank called me. He didn’t say it in so many words, but in between the lines he advised me against doing business in bitcoins because of its anonymity. After his call I felt a bit like a criminal," she said.
The bank reopened her account 15 days after they imposed the freeze.
A spokesperson from Swedbank said:
"At present it is not prohibited for our customers to shop with bitcoins. However, each case is being considered individually.
Swedbank monitors the development regarding bitcoin as a recognized/approved currency."
The customer doesn't think there is currently a very big appetite for bitcoin in Sweden. She said most people she speaks to about digital currency have heard about bitcoin, but that's as far as their knowledge and interest goes. "Sometimes I get the feeling that it’s only me and my family who are bitcoin fans."
She could be right – there are only a handful of people located in Sweden who are currently selling bitcoins on LocalBitcoins.com. However, Frank Schuil, CEO of Swedish exchange Safello, told CoinDesk earlier this week that "innovation is embraced rather than rejected" in the country so he believes bitcoin could yet flourish in Sweden.
Have you had any trouble with your bank over a bitcoin-related issue?
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.