Coinbase is looking to expand its footprint in Europe amid more crypto-friendly MiCA laws that will allow it to operate in all 27 EU states under a single license.
In a major move, crypto exchange Coinbase Glonal Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) has decided that it will select Ireland as its regulatory hub in the entire EU region. Currently, Coinbase already has its presence in Ireland holding an office in Dublin since 2018. As of now, Ireland employs nearly 100 people in Ireland.
Coinbase has applied for a license under the EU’s forthcoming Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation with the Central Bank of Ireland. Once granted, this “MiCA license” will provide Coinbase with the ability to “passport” its services into various EU countries, including Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and more.
This streamlined process will enable Coinbase to introduce new products in these markets without the need for separate licenses in each country. The company is optimistic about securing this license and aims to be operational with it from the regulation’s first day, as stated by Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s Vice President of International, in an interview with CNBC earlier this week.
MiCA represents the European Union’s initiative to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrency companies. Its aim is to implement safeguards for individuals engaged in the trading of crypto assets, including major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Under these regulations, crypto firms will have the capability to utilize a single license issued by one EU member state to conduct operations across all 27 EU member states, streamlining the licensing process.
Currently, Coinbase holds an electronic money institution license and virtual asset service provider registration in Ireland. In addition, it possesses a cryptocurrency license in Germany and national registrations in various other EU member states, such as Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Coinbase Optimistic about Growth in EU
Coinbase is looking toward expansion within the EU and other international markets, given the regulatory challenges it faces in its home country, particularly with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accusing the company of operating an illegal securities exchange.
Although Coinbase is contesting the SEC’s allegations and the matter is in legal proceedings, the company’s broader objective is to establish clear crypto legislation instead of perpetuating courtroom battles.
Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer, acknowledges that the pace of progress in terms of cryptocurrency regulation in the United States has been slower than ideal. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic about the prospects of obtaining enhanced regulatory clarity in the future. Grewal said:
“MiCA offers a more substantial and serious approach to crypto regulation in that it isn’t caught up with the jurisdictional fights the turf battles that we have the United States over whether particular transactions or securities transactions or commodities transactions. Instead, the focus is on keeping consumers and investors safe.”
Although the adoption of digital assets in Central, Northern, and Western Europe lags behind the United States, it still represents the world’s second-largest crypto economy, as per Chainalysis data. Coinbase anticipates substantial growth in this region and is considering the possibility of introducing new products there before doing so in the United States.
Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s Vice President of International, suggests that the European Union will serve as a “testbed” for the company to explore the practical, everyday applications of cryptocurrencies that individuals require, such as payment and transaction solutions, as opposed to primarily focusing on trading activities.