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Ex-NATO Secretary General Bullish on Blockchain as He Partners With Swiss Startup

Anders Fogh Rasmussen will advise the Swiss platform on identity two months after it released its proof-of-concept.

Swiss blockchain identity network Concordium has hired former Danish prime minister and NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen as a strategic advisor, the company confirmed in a press release on March 20.

The Concordium Foundation, the controlling entity behind the Concordium Network that launched a proof of concept in January, aims to tackle blockchain deployment in certain fields with Rasmussen’s expertise.

The former politician currently heads Rasmussen Global, a consultancy firm active in diverse fields including democracy, transatlantic relations and security policy.

“Given the enormous scope and far-reaching potential of the Concordium Network, it is essential for the Concordium Foundation to harness the knowledge of those with invaluable in-depth strategic expertise,” Concordium’s chairman, Lars Seier Christensen, commented in the press release. He added:

“Anders will play a pivotal role in our global expansion plans to move into areas that require a blockchain solution for secure and private communications, as well as liaising with governmental departments that will benefit from its implementation.”

While Rasmussen collaboration will focus on voting identity in particular, Concordium is aiming to position itself as a more general blockchain operator, facilitating record-keeping for transactions.

Discussing his appointment, Rasmussen likewise appeared buoyant on the technology’s potential.

“We are only beginning to see the benefits that blockchain technology will bring to our societies, including in our democratic processes,” he added in the press release.

As Cointelegrpah reported, voting alone saw two decisive blockchain trials in March, with Denver’s municipal elections and, elsewhere, Russian election primaries within a political party both leveraging the technology in their procedures.

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Denmark Targets 2,700 Bitcoin Traders for Tax Payments After Tip-Off From Finland

Danish authorities are going after those who traded Bitcoin for profit but did not yet declare the extra income.

Denmark’s tax agency (Skattestyrelsen) has confirmed it is “identifying” 2,700 individuals it says owe taxes on Bitcoin (BTC) gains, according to a Dec. 12 press release.

According to Skattestyrelsen, the Danish citizens bought and sold Bitcoin via an unnamed Finnish cryptocurrency exchange between 2015 and 2017, but did not declare any profits or losses on tax documents.

Now, the agency will go after each individual with an eye to determining their payment obligations.

“Right now we are identifying the individual citizens and keeping the new information up to those we already have,” tax director Karin Bergen commented, continuing:

“If something does not match, we will contact them and ask for more information. However, how many people it is and what it may mean, it is still too early to say.”

Skattestyrelsen did not mention which exchange was involved, but said the information had come via a tip-off from Finnish tax authorities.

Finland is home to well-known international P2P Bitcoin trading platform LocalBitcoins, which this year implemented limited Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes for “high volume” account holders.

The 2,700 traders involved purchased Bitcoin worth 49.7 million kronor ($7.55 million) and sold Bitcoin worth 53 million kronor ($8.05 million).

“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg,” Bergen added:

“The knowledge we gain about data mining, segments and methods in general will make us wiser in the area and benefit from our guidance and control work.”

Denmark has traditionally painted a mixed picture of its attitudes to cryptocurrency. This month, the country contains a total of 1,500 Bitcoin-accepting restaurants via online food portal, while on the other hand, local bank Nordea banned its workers from owning crypto earlier this year.

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Denmark Joins EU Blockchain Partnership, Plans to Implement Tech in Shipping

Denmark has signed a declaration to join a total of 24 European Union member states that support pan-EU blockchain standards and solutions, local news outlet Finans Watch reported June 4.

The EU blockchain partnership was formed on April 10 as part of the European Commission’s Digital Day with the intention of enhancing cooperation among member states for developing blockchain tech.

Brian Mikkelsen, the Danish Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, said after signing the declaration Monday that Denmark will be “the first country in the world [to] use blockchain technology to register ships in the Danish ship registers.” He added:

“Blockchain goes across borders, and a joint European cooperation is crucial to ensure future-proof standards and solutions. So I’m very pleased that we have now signed this declaration.”

Mikkelson also noted that the government’s “outside the box” Disruption Council is exploring blockchain use for the business sector.

Yesterday, June 4, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Ports also announced a blockchain solution to improve efficiency in the shipping and logistics industry. In early May, the CEO of FedEx referred to blockchain as the “next frontier” for global supply chains.

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Nordea Bank Forbids Workers From Owning Bitcoin: Denmark Unions Threaten Legal Action

Danish finance and workers’ rights figures have threatened legal action against major bank Nordea after it announced this week that it will ban its employees from owning Bitcoin by Feb. 28.

Speaking to local radio station Danmarks Radio (DK), Danish Financial Federation chairman Kent Petersen joined DJØF Union consultant Niels Mosegaard in condemning Nordea’s move, which came to light Monday.

Nordea is Scandinavia’s largest bank, meaning the legislation will cause 31,500 people to divest themselves of any Bitcoin holdings or exposure as soon as Feb. 28.

“We would consider it a legal offense against the individual,” Petersen told DK about the possibility of challenging the violation of employees’ rights in court. “After all, in Denmark there is still a degree of freedom to invest if it is not a risk for the company you are employed in.”

He added legal action would be considered if a member of either organization was fired as a result of owning Bitcoin after March 1. The majority of Nordea’s employees are members of either one of the two unions, according to The Next Web.

Nordea had defended its decision as prevention of employee participation of “criminal” or “unethical” participation in an “unregulated market.”

Director of media Stine Green Paulsen further agreed with a conclusion put to him by that they could technically “buy as many bitcoins as they liked” before the deadline, adding, however, that this was “not a recommendation.”

As a major Nordea operating area, Denmark has seen increasing hostility towards Bitcoin from regulatory circles recently.

Last month, Denmark’s Central Bank chief warned users to “stay away” from the cryptocurrency, going as far as to describe it as “deadly.”

At the same time, Bitcoin Suisse’s takeover of a major Danish sports team means the country now has a ‘Bitcoin Arena,’ while its players could become the first sports professionals to receive their salary in BTC.

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'Stay Away' from Bitcoin, Warns Danish Central Bank Chief

The head of the Danish central bank has warned investors to “stay away” from bitcoin.

As reported by state broadcaster DR, Danmarks Nationalbank director Lars Rohde argued that bitcoin is “dangerous” and, likening bitcoin investment to gambling , he said: “If you do not like casinos, you’ve got a good alternative.”

Rohde continued:

“I see bitcoin like tulip mania, like a bubble out of control.”

On a concluding note, the director added that the bitcoin market is “completely unregulated” and, thus, no protection is provided by the authorities. “It is the responsibility of the individual” and investors “should not come complaining to us if it goes wrong,” he said.

Rohde’s statements follow soon after an analysis from the central bank (published Dec. 15) stated that introducing a central bank-issued digital currency in the country would not result in better payment solutions and may also bring risks of financial instability.

“In a Danish context, it is unclear what central bank digital currency would be able to contribute that is not already covered by the current payment solutions,” the analysis states.

Back in 2014, Danmarks Nationalbank compared bitcoin to “glass beads” – an apparent reference to the beads that were traded in past centuries for gold, ivory and other commodities. It stated that bitcoin is not money in the true sense of the word, as it is not backed by an issuing institution.

Editor’s Note: Some of the statements in this report have been translated from Danish.

Danish central bank image via Wikipedia

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Denmark Could Tap Blockchain For Foreign Aid Delivery, Says Report

Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a new report on the applicability of blockchain to foreign aid.

The study was prepared in conjunction with blockchain startup Coinify and Sustania, a think tank, in a bid to explore the ways in which the technology can help deliver assistance to impoverished areas, particularly on the financial side. It’s an area that has attracted interest from a number of public-sector organizations, including the United Nations. The UN, for example, used ethereum as a means to deliver aid to thousands of refugees in a pilot program earlier this year.

Among the proposals: using blockchain as a means to send aid from Denmark citizens to those in need directly. The report suggests that the country should “consider being the first donor country to transfer aid by using cryptocurrency.”

The possible benefits of such an arrangement center mainly around the removal of financial intermediaries from the process. Rather than funding going through the traditional financial system, donors could potentially send cryptocurrencies straight to the foreign government or group that is collecting aid.

“There [are] huge opportunities in bringing the technological development into play in development cooperation. The use of blockchain and cryptocurrency is merely some of the technologies, which can give us new tools in the development cooperation toolbox,” Ulla Tørnæs, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, said in a statement.

Diplomats in other countries, including in the U.S., have also started looking at blockchain as a potential vehicle for delivering aid.

Denmark flag image via Shutterstock

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