Coinbase is officially expanding digital money services in the U.K. and EU.
The U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority granted Coinbase an e-money license, the company announced Wednesday. The license now enables the company the ability to provide payment services and issue digital cash alternatives, which can then be used to make card, internet or phone payments.
A Coinbase spokesperson clarified that e-money is different from cryptocurrencies. As such, the license comes with stringent regulations designed to protect customers, according to the press release.
To that end, Coinbase explained:
"We are committed to making sure customer funds are always secure and this update means that our e-money operations have safeguards and operational standards at par with other regulated financial institutions. An example of this is segregation of client funds, where all customer fiat balances will be separated from Coinbase's funds and kept in separate bank accounts."
Notably, the FCA license allows Coinbase to operate in 23 EU member nations, though it is unclear whether the upcoming U.K. exit from the EU will affect that.
The spokesperson said that Coinbase can trade within the union until the so-called "Brexit." If certain rules allowing the company to continue trading are not preserved, the company will have to suspend operations until a second license from a member state has been granted.
In addition to its new e-money license, Coinbase announced it was joining the U.K. Faster Payments Scheme, which aims to provide efficient bank transfers to residents. While Coinbase will launch a pilot to begin with, every U.K. customer should have access within the next few weeks, according to the release.
The push into the U.K. and EU are part of Coinbase's efforts to meet increasing demand in the European market. To that end, the company also plans to multiply its London team by a factor of eight.
London museum image via CoinDesk achieve