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Europe Legislation a ‘Positive’ Development Says Coinbase Boss

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • New EU AML legislation has been branded a positive by Brian Armstrong.
  • The Coinbase CEO is currently seeking to expand operations in the U.K. and EU.
  • There are however some dissenting voices who remain less than convinced.
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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has said that the European Union’s new crypto legislation is a positive development “which went largely unnoticed.” 

Last week, the EU reached a provisional agreement mandating that a full set of originator information travel with a crypto asset transfer. The anti-money laundering rules mean that firms such as Coinbase will have to check customer identities regardless of the transaction size, bringing crypto transactions under the same standards as for wire asset transfers.

Taking to Twitter, Armstrong praised the EU and U.K. for leading on the issue of crypto regulation, and went on to add: “This will likely be a model for other countries to follow.”

Coinbase in U.K. and Europe

Armstrong’s comments come as Coinbase focuses on expanding further into the U.K. and Europe. As Coinbase executives tell it, the harmonization of rules across the European bloc will allow the company “to invest, accelerate, and scale our growth efforts.”

Armstrong was in London even as European regulators ironed out the details of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation bill. Coinbase has teams in both London and Dublin. The two English-speaking capitals give Coinbase a foothold in both the UK and EU markets, and are separated by a plane journey of only one hour 20 minutes.

While a post-Brexit U.K. will not fall under the new European legislation, there are indications that it may be close to approving legislation of its own.

Coinbase executives Nana Murugesan, VP Business Development and International, and Tom Duff Gordon, VP International Policy, had the following to say on the matter:

“It is great to hear about the U.K.’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 U.K. is currently the largest international market for Coinbase, and we are excited by the momentum there as we look to grow our business.”

It therefore appears that even as Coinbase cuts back staffing in the U.S., it will travel elsewhere in search of greener pastures. The company already has teams in the U.K., Ireland, and Germany, and the business will soon expand to encompass France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.

A contrarian view

Coinbase has been at pains to explain that the latest round of EU legislation will be good news for the company and wider industry. In crypto, there are always contrarian views to be found, however.

Perennial skeptic Amy Castor chipped in to say that Armstrong’s “good news” routine was just spin.

“This is a negative for crypto,” asserted Castor. “Anytime regulators reign in crypto, it’s a negative for coiners. Armstrong is just trying to put a positive spin on things at a dire time.”

Castor’s no-coiner opinion may not be all that surprising, but on this occasion she does have support from within the industry. In fact, Armstrong’s assertion that the move was positive caused one exasperated Crypto Twitter community member to say: “Positive? It’s dystopian. WTF happened to you, man?”

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Robert D Knight
Robert D Knight is a journalist and copywriter who has specialized in crypto for over four years. His varied experience includes freelancing, in-project contracts, agency work, and PR, giving him a holistic view of the blockchain industry.