Coinbase appears poised to increase its global market share for licensed cryptocurrency exchanges. It recently hired a mergers and acquisitions veteran who handled more than 40 deals for Linkedin, signaling its intent to start gobbling up competitors in the industry. Now it’s also established a new legal beachhead in the UK from which it can further penetrate the European bitcoin market.
FCA E-Money License
San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced it has been granted an e-money license by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), allowing the company to issue “e-money” and provide payment services. This means Coinbase will have to match operations by traditional operators like the segregation of client funds, where all customer fiat balances must be separated from company funds and kept in separate bank accounts. Furthermore, the FCA license allows financial services companies to trade freely in any other European Union member state with minimal additional authorization under what is known as the EU passporting system.
“For our customers, this will ultimately help us deliver a better experience through new partnerships and an easier to use product. We are committed to making sure customer funds are always secure and this update means that our e-money operations have safeguards and operational standards at par with other regulated financial institutions,” commented Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz. “Our e-money license will extend beyond the UK to 23 countries within the EU. We believe that this is an important step towards our commitment to making cryptocurrency accessible to everyone.”
Coinbase also announced it will add support for the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), offering local clients a familiar, seamless and faster payment experience which is supported by all major UK banks. Replacing the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) will start with a pilot, giving just a selected number of institutional users access to FPF, but will eventually begin rolling out to all UK customers in a few weeks.
Lastly the company is set to significantly up its manpower in the British capital. “Since we began offering our services to European users in 2014, we have seen the crypto space grow significantly. The EU grew twice as fast as any of our other markets in 2017, and the UK continues to be our largest market here. In order to meet this increasing demand we plan to grow our London team 8x by the end of this year,” stated CEO Feroz.