Swedish MP Mathias Sundin recently announced that he will be joining Sweden's largest bitcoin exchange, BTCX, to serve as chairman of the board.
Sundin has long been a supporter of bitcoin. In fact, he campaigned as the first politician in Sweden to singularly take bitcoin donations. After pulling in two bitcoins in donations from 50 countries across the world, he was elected to the Swedish Parliament in 2014. It was through his 2014 campaigning that he first got to know the BTCX team.
A burgeoning interest in bitcoin
Sundin has always had a deep interest in technology. He has an entrepreneurial background as the co-founder of Sweden's Warp Institute, which had the goal of working to boost technological innovation in the country. However, Sundin reportedly developed a specific interest in bitcoin after reading a New York Times article penned by the famous venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, a bitcoin enthusiast who has invested over $50 billion in bitcoin-related startups. In that article, Andreessen argued that bitcoin not only was the most fundamental technological breakthrough in computer science but also could be the key to bringing a significant number of people into the modern global economic system.
That article reportedly piqued Sundin's curiosity and shifted his thinking on the cryptocurrency, helping him to realize it could act as a major source of empowerment for citizens across the world. "I realized this has some real potential to move power from institutions to regular people," Sundin explained to CoinDesk. "That's the main reason I'm into politics."
About BTCX: Sweden's most prominent Bitcoin Exchange
One of the oldest bitcoin exchanges in all of Europe, BTCX is currently growing at a rapid rate, adding about 1,200 customers each month. Moreover, transaction volumes have increased to around 2 million euros. Although BTCX was exclusively an exchange when it was started back in 2012, it has significantly expanded the scope of its activities. Following Sundin's election to parliament in 2014, the company, with his help, established a Swedish Bitcoin Embassy to educate the public on the uses and benefits of bitcoin.
Today, BTCX is registered with the Swedish Tax Authority and the Swedish Financial Supervision Authority, and its educational offerings have grown into more of a consulting service, giving lectures for roughly $3,000 and helping other bitcoin startups to gain access to banking services. Once Sundin took up his seat in parliament, he invited BTCX to address key members of a range of Swedish banks in order to combat their concerns over undeveloped regulatory compliance in relation to offering bitcoin accounts. The endeavor was successful, and BTCX convinced the bankers that they were able to adhere to applicable legislation – and was ultimately able to open a bank account at one of the country's largest banks as a result. It has used its own good fortune to help other companies to do the same.
It is likely that Sundin's involvement in the exchange will draw even more attention and activity. One of Sundin's goals in this new role reportedly is to facilitate improved interaction between the exchange and Swedish banks and ultimately help it expand across other parts of Europe. He remains confident that BTCX and other exchanges are an excellent way to improve accessibility to financial services.
"I liked what they're doing in their business. But also the community aspect of it. Even if you don't care about bitcoin at all, it's a very exciting startup," Sundin told CoinDesk. "So, we're going to raise money now and probably also expand into other markets in a few countries, in Europe first."
The company reportedly hopes to continue to situate itself as a key trailblazer in the bitcoin space, lending a hand to other bitcoin companies in Sweden, in Europe, and across the world.