Kraken Secures VASP License to Operate in Ireland

UTC by Mercy Tukiya Mutanya · 3 min read
Kraken Secures VASP License to Operate in Ireland
Photo: Depositphotos

The news comes as crypto companies are looking outside the United States and China for regulatory clarity.

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has received regulatory approval to operate in Ireland. The company successfully registered its Irish subsidiary Payward Europe Solutions Limited with the Central Bank of Ireland as a virtual asset service provider (VASP) on April 18. The VASP license allows the crypto exchange to legally operate in the country.

Kraken stated that the license is evidence of its robust regulatory compliance and strict adherence to anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorism financing rules. The firm’s head of European operations, Mark Jennings, stated that regulatory clarity was vital for crypto adoption, adding that his company was working with regulators in the European Union to improve the virtual assets landscape.

“Clear and effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. As we bring innovative products and services to market, we’re committed to continuing to work with European regulators to operate compliantly under sensible, forward-looking crypto asset regulation. We’ve always put our clients first and believe in offering a compliant trading experience that leverages industry-leading customer service, robust security protocols, and a market-leading position in liquidity and volume for EUR crypto pairs,” said Jennings.

As a VASP license holder, Kraken agrees to constant supervision of its platform by the government of Ireland. Kraken’s senior managing director for global operations, Curtis Ting revealed that the license was easier to receive than, for example, a BitLicense, New York’s certification for digital assets companies. He applauded Irish authorities for their clarity:

“Ireland and the Irish regulatory authorities understand crypto, and they are proactive in implementing laws that make sense and have sufficient clarity.”

Crypto Firms Seek Regulatory Clarity in Europe and Hong Kong

The news comes as crypto companies are looking outside the United States and China for regulatory clarity. While the US does not have a blanket ban on crypto like China, regulators – the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in particular – have taken what the industry believes to be a heavy-handed approach by regulating mainly through enforcement.

Major crypto exchanges, including Kraken, have been on the receiving end of such action. In February the exchange had to shut down its crypto staking-as-a-service platform for US clients and pay a $30 million fine to settle SEC charges that it had offered unregistered securities. Earlier, in November 2022, the firm made a $360,000 settlement with the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for allegedly allowing individuals from “Iran and elsewhere” to use its platform to violate sanctions.

The mounting regulatory scrutiny and lack of clarity have forced many digital asset businesses to expand into Europe. The EU is poised to implement the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) legal framework for crypto businesses operating in the region. The legislation is expected to bring digital assets business up to par with traditional financial institutions.

Hong Kong is also vying for a spot as a crypto hub and is already processing applications from about 20 companies hoping to set up there. Officials reveal that over 80 firms have expressed interest to operate in the city-state.

Blockchain News, Cryptocurrency News, News
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