Wednesday 14 March 2018 11:46 am

Coinbase granted licence from FCA as it ramps up UK presence

One of the world's top cryptocurrency exchanges has received a licence from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as it seeks to ramp up its British arm.

Coinbase, which is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, said the new e-money licence from the FCA was an endorsement that its business meets certain anti-money laundering and processing standards.

It comes as the firm steps up its hiring efforts for engineers, customer support workers and compliance experts in the UK, Coinbase's UK chief executive Zeeshan Feroz told City AM.

Feroz said Europe is a core market for Coinbase, and the UK is of particular interest as its fastest growing market in Europe. The firm opened a European headquarters in London a year and a half ago to begin building a product offering more usable for European customers.

Coinbase's new e-money licence covers the firm's fiat operations, or money moving in and out of Coinbase and between users. It will allow the firm to strike partnerships with banks and payment services and also allow it to explore possibilities with other businesses from a commercial angle, Feroz said.

"The biggest benefit directly to customers is an improved user experience, which is achieved through the ability to strike partnerships. As a regulated business we can go have a conversation with banks and other partners that we need to operate," Feroz said.

The company also today announced that Coinbase will add support for the UK's Faster Payments Scheme, which is supported by all major UK banks. The scheme allows consumers to benefit from faster and more seamless bank transfers.

Coinbase will start with a trail and in the coming weeks plans to begin rolling out the scheme to all UK customers.

Last month, the exchange announced its newest offering, Coinbase Commerce, a tool that makes it easier for shops and other businesses to accept payments directly in bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies.