Coinbase Chooses Ireland as Main EU Hub

Published 7 months ago

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has selected Ireland as its primary operational and regulatory hub within the European Union. The company recently submitted its application for a license under the EU’s new Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation to the Central Bank of Ireland. The MiCA regulation is expected to be implemented by December 2024.

Coinbase has operated a Dublin office since 2018 and currently employs around 100 staff in Ireland. If approved, Coinbase will obtain a universal “MiCA license” in Ireland, which it can then utilize to “passport” its services into Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and other EU countries. This would simplify launching new products in these markets without requiring individual licenses for each country.

MiCA: Pan-European Regulatory Framework

The new MiCA regulation is the EU’s attempt at introducing a comprehensive regulatory framework for crypto companies. It aims to implement protections for investors buying and selling crypto assets like bitcoin and ethereum. The rules will allow crypto companies to use a single license in one country to operate across all 27 EU member states.

The regulation imposes several requirements on crypto firms, especially exchanges, including not mixing client funds with their own assets. Coinbase is optimistic about winning this license and plans to be operational with its MiCA license from “day one”.

Coinbase’s Global Expansion

Despite facing regulatory pressure in the U.S., Coinbase remains hopeful for more regulatory clarity in the future. The company is banking on growth in the European Union and other international hubs. According to data from Chainalysis, Central, Northern, and Western Europe is the world’s second-biggest crypto economy, behind only North America. Coinbase expects substantial growth in the region and has reported earning as much as 15% to 20% of its top-line revenue from across Europe.

In addition to its expansion in Ireland, Coinbase has decided to establish Germany as its regional “talent hub” and plans to increase hiring in that market to localize and tailor its product specifically for Germany.

EU-first Approach to Products

Coinbase plans to use the EU as a “testbed” for innovative “utilitarian” functions of crypto that people need in their daily lives, such as payments and transacting rather than trading. The company may even launch new products in Europe first before rolling them out in the U.S. Coinbase is also looking to launch integrations with other payment providers to make it easier for users to access digital tokens through Coinbase.

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