Report: Dutch banks increasingly friendly to bitcoin business

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In a report published today on Bloomberg, banking insiders in the Netherlands hinted at growing interest in working with bitcoin-based businesses. With a massive amount of global attention now directed at bitcoin-based payment systems, Dutch banks are becoming interested largely because their most innovative customers are.

The report quoted a recent statement by Mark Buitenhek, ING Groep NV (INGA)’s global head of transaction services, who said: “We are very expressly looking at what [bitcoin] is, what it can do and, mostly, what the message behind it is. And that tells us: Banks, take action.”

Although this interest isn’t yet taking the form of policy-level action, Dutch authorities appear to be taking a curious, non-antagonistic view towards the technological experiment that is bitcoin. Like most major countries, Dutch financial authorities have issued warnings to investors about the inherent risks of an investment in bitcoin, but have thus far been friendly to bitcoin companies. One notable example of this is the recent launch of BitPay’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, and the recently announced plans by mining hardware manufacturer BitFury to open a facility in the Netherlands.

That said, there are still challenges. Bloomberg quoted Jouke Hofman of Holland-based digital currency exchange Bitonic, who claimed that even in a relatively friendly setting, banks still act like banks.

“We spend two man-days a week convincing the banks not to kick us out,” Hofman said. “It was a struggle to get there.”

The article, written by Carter Dougherty and Maud van Gaal, provides valuable insight into what a somewhat friendly financial context for bitcoin looks like at the moment. As bitcoin adoption grows and more banks across the globe consider their options for utilizing it, the Dutch approach may become an important guideline for other countries.

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