European Bank to Study Benefits of Integrating Bitcoin Technology

The Estonian bank LHV will examine bitcoin bank services and the use of the block chain technology.

AccessTimeIconJun 13, 2014 at 6:31 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:53 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Estonia-based bank LHV has announced a new project that will explore the legal framework and potential uses of bitcoin's block chain technology in banking so it might develop bank services for bitcoin and other digital currencies.

"We are interested in the technological side of digital currencies as we hope it could make bank services more simple and efficient," Priit Rum, head of communications at LHV, told CoinDesk.

The project manager will examine all digital currencies, not limiting itself to bitcoin.

For now, the bank won't engage in trading bitcoin, Rum said, but more likely, could develop its payments system using block chain technology.

The company claims to be the first bank in the world to implement such a program, stating:

"We have been aware of crypto currencies for some time now […] we decided last month that establishing a side project to explore the block chain technology and analyse possibilities of cryptocurrencies would be a good opportunity to stay with the innovation."

Regulatory uncertainty remains

While the news of this action by a major bank is perhaps encouraging, in Estonia, bitcoin is tangled in regulatory uncertainty.

Earlier this year, the country’s central bank issued a warning against bitcoin and digital currencies calling it a Ponzi scheme, saying "virtual currency schemes are an innovation that [deserve] some caution", but that it would continue to monitor their development.

Shortly after, local bitcoin trading site put a halt on trades, coming under pressure from Estonian authorities who challenged the site’s compliance with the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act.

Said Rum:

"LHV is a regulated bank and we take all the regulations and guidelines very seriously […] For us, all the questions about 'know your customer' and concerns of money laundering have to be dealt with before we can really develop new bank services using new technology."

Local enthusiasm grows

Estonians have been enthusiastic about bitcoin for some time, despite the regulatory difficulties the domestic ecosystem faces.

The country’s capital Talinn had a successful week-long bitcoin showcase last month, during which bitcoin advocates came together to educate those new to the digital currency and boost its popularity.

For more on the latest developments in the eastern European economy, read our most recent report.

Estonian parliament image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.