Nao Kitazawa, CEO of Coinbase Japan, left, and Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, right
Nao Kitazawa, CEO of Coinbase Japan, left, and Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, right. Shutterstock/Nikkei/Coinbase

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase was able to secure an e-money license from the Central Bank of Ireland, the company said in a blog post on 12 October.

According to the announcement, the exchange became “one of just a few companies” that have received such a license in the country.

The exchange first opened an office in Dublin one year ago in order to expand its business in Europe and, with this license, it now has the opportunity to open up E.U. and European Economic Area (EEA) markets.


Zeeshan Feroz, the CEO of the U.K. arm of Coinbase, said:

“Europe represents a huge opportunity for Coinbase and today’s announcement is another positive step for us in the region. 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.”

This license can also be seen as a contingency plan for the exchange. Back in March 2018 Coinbase received a U.K. e-money license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but while still a E.U. member state, the U.K. is looking to leave the economic bloc in the near future.

If the United Kingdom goes through with its Brexit plan, the license the exchange received will have limited benefits.

IDA Ireland, the state-sponsored agency which is tasked with attracting foreign investments to the country, congratulated Coinbase on acquiring the e-money license, and said that the move will be a net positive for the local financial industry.

Mike Shanahan, the CEO of IDA Ireland, 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.”

Back in August, the exchange cut its ties to one of the largest British banks, Barclays, which in turn meant it no longer had access to FPS payments, making deposits and withdrawals for U.K. customer significantly slower.

In the beginning of this month however, Coinbase once again gained access to the Faster Payment Scheme (FPS) in the U.K., thanks to its partnership with ClearBank.