A startup called CoinCorner claims it has launched as the first digital currency exchange on the Isle of Man, a British Crown dependency.
The exchange offers customers the chance buy and sell bitcoin, and trade litecoin, bitcoin and dogecoin, with fees starting from 0.25%. It says it has future plans to provide more options for both fiat and digital currencies.
Effectively, CoinCorner is offering a peer-to-peer marketplace where customers can trade cryptocurrency with other users on the platform, or buy and sell bitcoin.
"We provide the mechanism so that buyers and sellers get their cryptocurrency at their agreed rate, minus a small fee for providing the service," reads the company website.
The company's CEO, Charlie Woolnough, told CoinDesk:
"Our aim is to give people a secure and trusted place to buy and sell cryptocurrency in an easy and transparent fashion. We believe this is crucial piece in the jigsaw that is needed to drive the wider adoption and greater use of cryptocurrencies."
UK and EU focus
CoinCorner is offering free deposits in pounds sterling, euros and US dollars for those wishing to buy bitcoin. The service pays out sellers in pounds, which incurs a £10 fee.
The startup says its UK banking facilities will be a boon for the nation's underserved bitcoin market, as transfers from banks within the country will take one to three working days, charge-free.
Transfers from elsewhere in the EU will take two to five days and will incur some bank charges.
"Our initial focus is the UK and Europe, which we believe currently suffers from a lack of quality competition, but we have the ability to expand globally if we choose," said Woolnough.
Emphasis on security
CoinCorner is marketing itself as a secure and transparent place for users to conduct their cryptocurrency business.
"To minimise risk to our clients," the company said, "we follow the best practice by keeping the majority of the reserve in cold storage, or in other words, not present on the web server. The only amount kept on the server is the amount needed to cover anticipated small withdrawals."
The company added:
"Our cold storage device is held offline, fully encrypted and only accessible by a select few individuals authorised to make high-volume withdrawals within CoinCorner."
Transparency is also an issue CoinCorner believes can set it apart from the opposition and inspire confidence in potential new customers.
"We foresee a future whereby many of the exchanges that currently exist will disappear. Those that survive will be run by credible people in a transparent fashion," said Woolnough.
The company's COO, Daniel Scott, added that because cryptocurrency has not always been viewed in a favourable light by some sections of the media, CoinCorner aims to be as transparent as possible with its clients, explaining:
"Anybody can look on [the site] and see who we are and where we are based. We have assembled a highly credible team with great proven track records that will provide our clients with the comfort that their funds are in safe hands."
Furthermore, know-your-customer (KYC) procedures have been put in place, requiring users to upload scans of photo ID and proof of residency before they can commence using CoinCorner's services.
The Isle of Man, which has long been an attractive, low-tax destination for businesses of all kinds, has recently been positioning itself as an ideal location for companies working in the cryptocurrency space.
In June, the Department of Economic Development announced plans to introduce controls on digital currencies – both to protect businesses and customers using digital currencies, and to provide an environment that enables companies operating within the space to flourish.
"CoinCorner aims to be the first exchange registered with the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission," said Woolnough. "We believe that this will provide some sectors of society, both individuals and institutions, with the additional layer of comfort that they are currently seeking before they will engage with cryptocurrency and start to use it on daily basis."
He indicated that the welcoming regulatory environment on the island was key to setting up the business in the jurisdiction:
"We liked the Isle of Man's forward thinking approach to cryptocurrency. Knowing that the Isle of Man government and the local business community support our business gives us added stability."
At the news of CoinCorner's imminent launch, Peter Greenhill, director of e-business for the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development said:
"The Department of Economic Development would like to congratulate CoinCorner on its latest initiative. We are pleased that the company has recognised the need to protect the consumer and keep crime out, whilst launching a service that will attract worldwide business to an Isle of Man company."
Isle of Man image via Shutterstock