Swedish Bitcoin Firm Enters Court Battle to Protect Customer Data

A Swedish bitcoin brokerage has gone to court with the country’s tax authority to prevent an audit of its customer information.

AccessTimeIconMar 26, 2015 at 6:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:37 a.m. UTC
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A Swedish bitcoin brokerage has gone to court with the country’s tax authority to prevent an audit of its customer information.

Goobit AB, the company that operates the Stockholm-based BTCX, is fighting a third-party audit request from the Skatteverket, the Swedish tax agency, that would require it to disclose information about its customer base.

As reported last week by Swedish language newspaper Dagens Nyheter, BTCX has gone to court in order to prevent this information from being handed over.

Goobit chief marketing officer Joakim Herlin-Ljunglöf voiced concern that Swedish authorities might use such information to track bitcoin transactions on the blockchain, explaining:

"With the information they have requested the tax agency will see each bitcoin’s history, which includes all the previous owners and transactions, and it also gives the tax agency the opportunity to monitor transactions that will be implemented in the future, by people who may have nothing at all to do with Sweden or Swedish taxes."

He told CoinDesk that his company is contesting the order partly on grounds that the Skatterverket lacks an understanding of bitcoin.

Open to cooperation

Herlin-Ljunglöf suggested that, given the nature of the case, the battle could move to an EU-level court, with broad implications for Europe's bitcoin users.

He added that his company wants to cooperate with Swedish tax authorities, but not at the expense of disclosing sensitive customer information.

Herlin-Ljunglöf told CoinDesk:

"We have no wish at all to be difficult, but, the information now requested from us, concerning thousands of individual customers, is not necessary for the supervision of an individual or for the preservation of evidence against an individual ... We believe that it could be illegal to request the data."

According to the report by Dagens Nyheter, a representative for the Skatteverket declined to comment on the third-party audit. CoinDesk reached out to the Skatteverket but did not receive an immediate response.

Stockholm image via Shutterstock


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