Coinbase expands in Europe with new Bank of Spain license

Coinbase secured authorization from the Bank of Spain as an official Bitcoin (BTC) and digital assets exchange and custodial wallet service provider.

This milestone empowers Coinbase to extend its complete range of offerings to both retail and institutional users in Spain and Europe.

Coinbase secures Bank of Spain approval 

In a Sept. 22 blog post, Nana Murugesan, the Vice President of International and Business Development at Coinbase, described the Bank of Spain’s approval as a significant achievement. Coinbase can now expand its services for retail consumers, institutional clients, and developer partners in the region, she explained.

Murugesan further stated that It’s noteworthy that many countries are providing much-needed clarity and guidance for the crypto industry.

Over the past year, Coinbase has successfully obtained Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) registrations in Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands, received in-principle approval for launching in Singapore, initiated operations in Brazil, and, most recently, started offering its services in Canada. 

According to Murugesan, Coinbase views the implementation of well-defined regulations, the development of more efficient and accessible products and services, and the establishment of user trust through these offerings as the core elements of its long-term growth strategy.

Recall in 2020, Coinbase launched a Visa debit card in Spain that allows users to spend their cryptocurrency at any merchant that accepts the Visa card. 

Coinbase’s registration with the Bank of Spain comes amid talks of Coinbase’s acquisition of FTX Europe, a cryptocurrency exchange that has been gaining traction in Europe.

SEC’s crypto onslaught and MiCA regulation

In June, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) leveled allegations against Coinbase, asserting that the exchange operated as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency.

This allegation stems from Coinbase’s purportedly unlawful facilitation of buying and selling crypto asset securities, combining the functions of an exchange, broker, and clearing agency without obtaining the necessary registrations mandated by the Commission.

However, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has voiced vehement criticism of the SEC, characterizing their regulatory approach as unjust and unreasonable when applied to digital assets.

The actions taken by the SEC have served as a clear signal to crypto exchanges and have the potential to reshape a market that has, for the most part, functioned without regulatory oversight. Furthermore, the SEC’s vigorous enforcement actions against crypto firms have raised concerns about fairness and equitable treatment. It’s notable that traditional financial institutions often receive opportunities for correction and support, while crypto exchanges face immediate scrutiny.

Last year, European Union policymakers adopted the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulations. This development is significant as Spain is a member of the European Union.

The forthcoming implementation of MiCA regulations across Europe is expected to bring clarity and regulatory oversight to the cryptocurrency market, potentially fostering increased adoption.

This development could position Coinbase as a hub for cryptocurrency trading within the European landscape, allowing the exchange to serve users in Spain and other European countries.

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