Coinbase has teamed up with Barclays in the first partnership between a British bank and a cryptocurrency exchange, in a development that also grants Coinbase a licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
According to reports Coinbase, which has around 12m users and is one of the world’s most popular exchanges for digital currencies, has also been granted an e-money licence and access to the UK’s Faster Payments Scheme (FPS). The forthcoming update to Faster Payments will simplify the process of topping up and withdrawing money from Coinbase for the app’s UK-based customers.
Zeeshan Feroz, UK CEO at Coinbase, said on Wednesday, “UK customers will benefit from faster, safer and seamless bank transfers. We will start with a pilot, giving a small number of institutional users access to Faster Payments. In the coming weeks, we will begin rolling out to all UK customers, making the Coinbase experience increasingly easier.”
The platform’s e-money license from the FCA will in theory extend to 23 countries within the European Union, although the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has ruled out passporting access to Europe’s financial services post-Brexit in March 2019. Nonetheless, the UK remains Coinbase’s largest European market.
The positive developments for Coinbase come at a time of growing regulatory concern at the illicit trading and risk to investors involved with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Several governments around the world, especially in Asia, have moved to outlaw or restrict trading in digital currencies in recent months.
After a heady rise of more than 1,500% in 2017, Bitcoin has lost more than 50% of its value so far in 2018. On Coinbase this morning, a unit of the currency was trading at £6,237, down 3.16% on the previous day.
Barclays declined to comment on the deal.