Daily Management Review

Coinbase to expand operations in UK


04/30/2015




Bitcoin payment processor Coinbase expanded its base in UK and is looking forward to expand globally to 40 countries.

The company has announced that it had engaged in very ‘forward-looking’ talks with financial regulators, prompting the decision to expand its operations. Coinbase is the world's biggest cryptocurrency company and has been dubbed the AOL of bitcoin. It has opened an exchange and online wallet service in the UK to enable users to convert pound sterling into bitcoin.

The company has much bigger ambitions and is planning a global expansion that aims to cover 40 countries by the end of the year. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that the UK's attitude towards cryptocurrency and its position as a global financial leader made it a better choice to expand in to. "The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been really great to work with," Armstrong told CoinDesk. "I think they've been very forward thinking in this space right now. The UK regulators were very easy to work with and I think are setting a good precedent for how other countries should look at this," Armstrong said to International Business Times.

In March, the UK government announced as part of its 2015 budget that it was preparing to regulate bitcoin using anti-money laundering frameworks. The UK government has also noted that it wanted to provide regulatory clarity and legitimacy to digital currencies, and that £10 million would be invested into research to help achieve this. 

This move by the UK government can provide a basis for bringing bitcoin and other blockchain technologies closer to mainstream adoption.

"This response is important for cryptocurrency companies in the UK because it demonstrates a pragmatic, collaborative and priority-driven approach to regulation," Tom Robinson, a board member of the UK Digital Currency Association (UKDCA), told to International Business Times."The £10m research initiative is important because it is being allocated to organisations that focus on understanding underlying data structures. Allocating the grant to those organisations indicated that the Treasury is interested in supporting and understanding the underlying technology - the blockchain - and understands the potential benefits it could bring to society," he added.

Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam echoed Armstrong’s comments about the regulatory environment in the UK in an interview with The Guardian. “The payments regulators and the Treasury are taking a very balance view of bitcoin. They’re really taking their time to understand the core technology prior to regulating.”
 
 






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