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Coinbase has secured a new legal foothold in Europe. The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange has received an e-money license from the Bank of Ireland, which it can potentially use to continuing serving its customers across the continent, in case Brexit causes any disruptions.
Coinbase Granted an Irish E-Money License
Coinbase announced over the weekend that the cryptocurrency exchange has been granted an e-money license by the Central Bank of Ireland. This is the second such European regulatory approval the company has obtained, as in March 2018 it received an e-money license from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
When Coinbase opened the Dublin office exactly a year ago, they said the local team would complement the company’s operations in London. Now, being one of just a few companies to receive the Irish e-money license, they can also rely on the new Ireland team to legally serve clients across Europe. This option could be particularity useful if a no-deal Brexit affects the acceptance of the British license by regulators on the continent.
“The approval from the Central Bank of Ireland will now enable us to expand our Irish operation and deliver a better product to customers across some of our fastest-growing markets. It will also allow us to secure passporting for our customers across the EU and EEA,” stated Zeeshan Feroz, the UK CEO of Coinbase. “We are committed to ensuring that our customers have the same safeguarding and security as any regulated financial institution, and the approval of a second European regulatory authority demonstrates our position as the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency platform.”
Ireland to Become Next Crypto Industry Hub?
Ireland has been very succusful in attracting multinational tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook to operate from its jurisdiction by offering them one of the most attractive tax regimes in Europe. The approval of Coinbase by the Irish central bank might be an indication that the country is open to becoming a launchpad for the European market to the digital assets industry as well.
The CEO of IDA Ireland, the state sponsored agency responsible for the attraction of foreign direct investment into the country, Martin Shanahan, commented: “Coinbase’s choice of Dublin for this operation reinforces the strength of Ireland as a destination for financial services companies, providing a consistent, certain, pro-enterprise policy environment for businesses to grow and thrive.”
Coinbase has also been busy recently securing its legal position across the pond. About two weeks ago it led a group of digital finance companies in the formation of the Crypto Rating Council, a member-operated organization created to help market participants comply with U.S. federal securities laws. The other founding members of this industry body are Anchorage, Bittrex, Circle, DRW Cumberland, Genesis, Grayscale Investments and Kraken. The purpose of the council is to provide a joint assessment of whether a specific token should be considered a security under American law.
What do you think about Coinbase getting an e-money license from the Bank of Ireland? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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On Wednesday, Jan. 23, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) published guidance for virtual currency businesses operating in the state. The state’s financial agency has decided a money transmission license for cryptocurrency operations is not required.
Banking Department in Pennsylvania Declares Cryptocurrency Businesses Don’t Need a Money Transmitter License
Banking officials from the state of Pennsylvania have revealed that cryptocurrency business operators are not required to apply for a money transmission license. The DoBS has issued a statement concerning the state’s Money Transmitter Act (MTA) and guidance for virtual currency businesses explaining that bitcoin and other digital assets are not considered legal tender in the U.S. In fact, the Pennsylvania guidelines emphasize that thus far, there is no state in the country that has “designated virtual currency as legal tender.” Furthermore, the DoBS explains that it has received “multiple inquiries from entities” who were looking for further guidance toward money transmission laws and setting up a cryptocurrency operation.
“The DoBS will not be responding to these requests for guidance on a case-by-case basis, the DoBS is providing the following guidance on the applicability of the Money Transmission Business Licensing Law,” reads the banking department’s announcement.
Cryptocurrency Kiosks, ATMs, and Vending Machines Don’t Need a License
If the platform does not directly deal with handling fiat currency then a money transmission license is not needed. When a business operating in Pennsylvania solely transacts in virtual currency settlements then ultimately the platform is not engaged in the business of providing payment services or money transfer services. The DoBS also stated that operators of virtual currency kiosks, automated teller machines (ATMs), and vending machines have all attempted to contact the agency.
“In both the one-way and two-way Kiosk systems, there is no transfer of money to any third party — The user of the Kiosk merely exchanges fiat currency for virtual currency and vice versa, and there is no money transmission,” the DoBS MTA guidelines explain.
Thus, the entities operating the Kiosks would not be money transmitters under the MTA.
Regulatory Inconsistencies Across Several States and the Federal Government
Over the course of the past few years, U.S. officials have had a hard time reaching consensus when it comes to classifying bitcoin and other digital currencies. For instance, on Sept. 19, 2016, Federal Judge Alison Nathan from Manhattan ruled that “bitcoin is money.” Nathan detailed during the legal proceedings against Coin.mx exchange operator Anthony Murgio that “Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term — They, therefore, function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment.” Virtual currency businesses in the state of New York have to apply for a money transmission license (Bitlicense) that is issued by the state’s financial regulators.
However, Miami-Dade’s Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler tossed out anti-money-laundering charges against website designer Michell Espinoza and declared that “bitcoin was not money.” “It is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, that Bitcoin has a long way to go before it [becomes] the equivalent of money,” Judge Pooler declared. Although the state of Florida’s prosecution agency filed an appeal against the decision to dismiss charges, the case took went on for years after Pooler’s verdict and the charges were eventually dropped.
So far the state of Pennsylvania seems to be in the same regulatory boat as Florida once was in 2016 but the sunshine state has since changed the regulatory guidelines since Judge Pooler’s decision. Back in May of 2017, House Bill 1379 passed in Florida, defining virtual currencies as a money transmission instrument and prohibiting money laundering by using virtual currency as a vehicle. Pennsylvania’s new rules may also run into issues with the federal government’s laws and how the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) classifies virtual currency operations as money transmitters. The DoBS money transmission laws in regard to cryptocurrency businesses have been discussed by Pennsylvania since 2016.
What do you think about Pennsylvania’s Department of Banking and Securities ruling on virtual currencies and the state’s money transmission laws? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock, and the DoBS of Pennsylvania.
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On Thursday, Dec. 13, digital payments platform Revolut announced that the company has been approved for a banking license in Europe by the region’s central bank. According to Revolut, the license will help it provide better access to digital currencies and also offer traditional banking services.
License Approved by the European Central Bank
Revolut is a UK-based digital currency company that allows people to purchase, sell, and store cryptocurrencies like bitcoin cash, ripple, ethereum, and others. Founded in 2015 by Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut has raised $ 336 million since its inception. On Dec. 13 the team revealed it was approved by the European Central Bank for a banking license that allows the company to provide more financial services to customers. Revolut has explained that at first everything will be done “behind the scenes” so that the company will eventually be able to offer full current accounts, overdrafts, and other traditional financial services.
“If you choose to open a full current account with Revolut Bank in the future, any funds you deposit will be protected up to €100,000 under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS),” Revolut’s blog announcement detailed.
Revolut Plans to Roll Out Overdraft Features and Personal Loans
Additionally, the Revolut team says customers will have access to overdraft facilities and this means users won’t have to worry about ‘insufficient funds’ notifications, automatic top-ups, and negative balances.
The company further emphasized:
The competitive personal loans we plan to offer will help out when your budget can’t cover a bigger purchase when you want to book that long-overdue holiday, or for anything else that requires a small cash injection before your next payday.
Revolut says it will start to experiment with the license in 2019 in Lithuania and hopes it can expand the services to other European regions after the testing. Furthermore, the license will give it the opportunity to provide U.K. direct debit payments. The British-based company also says that it is currently constructing its in-house payment processor. Revolut hopes to implement everything involved with the newly approved banking license over the next 18 months. According to the digital currency payment platform’s website, Revolut will additionally roll out services in the U.S. in the near future.
What do you think about the Revolut platform getting approved for a banking license in Europe? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Revolut, and Pixabay.
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