Tl;dr: As we continue to grow our presence in the UK and Europe, we have met with policymakers in the UK, established a regional Centre of Excellence in Ireland, strengthened operations in DACH with our first hire in Switzerland, and are expanding our footprint across additional European markets.
By Nana Murugesan,VP Business Development and International ; Tom Duff Gordon, VP International Policy
At Coinbase, our mission is to promote economic freedom, and we believe the best way to do that is by increasing crypto adoption in the world. That is why international expansion is fundamentally mission-aligned and continues to be a company priority.
As part of our recently announced two-pronged growth strategy, we are driving a concerted effort to strengthen our presence in Europe. This week, Coinbase CEO and Co-Founder, Brian Armstrong, was on the ground with other members of our executive team in London and Dublin and to meet with policymakers, partners, and key journalists. Brian also hosted our first-ever “Live from London” companywide global all hands.
It is great to hear about the UK’s ambitions to become a leading global hub for crypto assets, and we are encouraged by the thoughtful conversations with policymakers on how to turn that aspiration into a reality. The UK is currently the largest international market for Coinbase and we are excited by the momentum there as we look to grow our business.
Yesterday, the EU reached a landmark agreement on the Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation, “MiCA”, delivering the most comprehensive regulatory framework in the world and a single rule-book across 27 countries. This will provide important legal and regulatory certainty to the market, and raise standards across the industry. This is exciting — a harmonized single set of rules for the entire EU will enable us to invest, accelerate, and scale our growth efforts across the entire bloc.
Furthermore, the EU took a major step forward by reaching a sensible deal for implementation of the Travel Rule to tackle financial crimes and the transfer of illicit funds. The agreement takes a risk-based approach to verification requirements for crypto asset transfers to and from Self Hosted Wallets (SHWs). This is crucial for the protection of privacy and the development of Web3, for which SHWs are the gateway.
The EU is setting measured regulatory standards for crypto assets, which should provide renewed impetus for other jurisdictions to reflect on their own approaches to regulation and Travel Rule implementation.
During market downturns, the temptation can be to shy away from international expansion. We first entered the UK and EU during the bear market in 2015, a move that paid off significantly during the bull run a few years from then. We’ll keep building around the world, and doing everything we can to grow the cryptoeconomy.
We’re already on the ground in the UK, Ireland, and Germany. Additionally, we are in the process of expanding in France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands. In all of these markets, our goal is to launch the Coinbase suite of retail, institutional, and developer products.
In Switzerland, we are delighted that Peter Hofmann is going to establish our in-market presence, within the Central European build-out that we recently embarked on, spearheaded by DACH Regional Director Sascha Rangoonwala, based in our Germany office.
In Ireland, we established a regional Centre of Excellence (CoE) to drive business outcomes by working closely with regulators and internal teams including PED, Compliance, Legal and Policy. This new team will be led by Lory Kehoe, Head of EMEA, Market Operations.
We are also investing in the development of the crypto ecosystem. Coinbase Ventures, one of the most active corporate VCs by deal count, has invested in close to a dozen companies just in the UK including Euler, a lending protocol, and Qredo, a cross-chain protocol for asset managers and traders active in the digital asset markets. Coinbase Ventures is consistently evaluating investments to add to their portfolio, as well as potential acquisitions.
While markets will always be volatile, we believe the future is bright — and we’re excited to keep building that future with our customers and partners across the region.
Nana & Tom