Saxo Bank’s Co-Founders and Co-CEO’s, Lars Seier-Christensen and Kim Fournais have long been rumored to have an interest in bitcoins and digital currencies in general. With their libertarian leanings, the co-heads of the Danish bank and provider of multi-asset financial products have been oft-quoted on their opinions of the need of reduced government interference and regulations. Guests to the company’s headquarters will also witness the founders preferences by the choice of books that are widely displayed there, such as Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. In regard to their interest for Atlas Shrugged, the book has been reprinted in Danish by Saxo Bank, with them distributing it for free.
However, despite acknowledging their interest for bitcoins in private conversations, Seier Christensen and Fournais have been quiet about the currency in public discussion. With that background, catching our attention today was the release of a post by Seier Christensen titled “Bitcoin faces serious challenges, but isn’t the only game in town”. Posted on Saxo Bank’s TradingFloor.com social trading site, the post is an overview of the CEO’s opinions about bitcoins, government regulation, and the future.
Among some of the main points:
Was introduced to bitcoins when they were priced in the sub-$10 level – Although they thought he would connect to the “non-statist, unregulated experiment”, Seier-Christensen refrained from becoming involved because of the “longer-term concerns about the viability of Bitcoin” which he added “in my view, those concerns still remain.”
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Would be beneficial if anonymity was removed – Perhaps the most controversial quote was “I think Bitcoin has made a mistake by keeping its owners anonymous, although some users — including some highly undesirable ones — are embracing it for that very reason”. In this regard he explained that this has led to additional scrutinity from regulators and a quicker trigger finger (my words) to ban or restrict them.
Banning them won’t eradicate bitcoins – But it will severely hamper them from being used by “law-abiding individuals and businesses… thereby render it practically useless anyway.” In this regard he stated that “So the false sense of security the, admittedly, irrepressible network provides Bitcoin will really not count for much, if there is a concerted move to restrict the Bitcoin market.” As such, he mentioned that “I think therefore that it may well be advisable to accept and embrace some degree of regulation
The Future – Stated that bitcoin “will face serious challenges in the long run” but was bullish about digital currencies. On this he stated that there is no reason why a non-government run currency couldn’t do well as he said “There is no doubt that many central banks have made a mess of things with their own fiat money without linkage to reality, and it is entirely conceivable that the private sector could also in the area of currencies do a better job than public sector institutions. It does in pretty much every other area under the sun, so why not here?” Overall, he believed that the future of bitcoins is tied to how it will be regulated and accepted within the existing financial space.
Future part II (some interesting points) – About his own firm, Seier-Christensen stated that Saxo Bank doesn’t offer trading bitcoins “due to the concerns listed here” but they were reviewing the digital space. However, he did mention that among alt-coin initiatives, “I know personally of a couple of projects in the design phase that in my view are better constructions, and will be able to obtain rapid distribution, making them real competitors to Bitcoin. When they launch, I promise myself that I will be less cautious and also that readers of this blog will get to know about it at an early stage, so watch this space!”. Therefore, while bitcoins or other digital currencies may not get added to Saxo Bank anytime soon, its owners will probably be onboard themselves.