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CleverCoin opened its bitcoin exchange to the wider European market today, while adding MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards to its list of available payment options.

Founded in January, CleverCoin had been serving customers solely in the Netherlands for two months prior to the announcement. The company notably garnered more international notice for its attempts to help relaunch troubled Norwegian bitcoin exchange Justcoin, though it is no longer involved in the effort.

CleverCoin now offers its EUR/BTC order-book exchange in more than 30 countries, including France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

Speaking to CoinDesk, CleverCoin CEO Karsten Nilsen described the move as one that would help bring bitcoin to more general consumers in its target markets.

Nilsen said simply:

"There are a lot of European countries where everything is done with credit cards."

With the announcement, credit card payments join Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) bank transfers and Netherlands-based e-commerce payment system iDEAL as available funding options for CleverCoin customers.

CleverCoin pledged to continue to add payment options to its exchange, provided they support its larger goals of making bitcoin buying more convenient and secure.

The company charges 0.3% trading fees and has formed a partnership with payments-as-a-service provider Lemon Way, which helps facilitates transactions via credit and debit cards.

Verification process update

In addition to the updated funding options, CleverCoin has also altered the way it will seek to verify the identities of exchange users pursuant to know-your-customer (KYC) regulations.

Customers must still provide proof of ID and proof of address, but they can now satisfy the second portion of these requirements with a 'selfie' photograph.

Customers can now elect to have a letter mailed to their place of residence, which they must then include in a photograph of themselves and upload to the exchange.

Nilsen went on to explain that customers must provide additional information in order to connect their bank accounts for purchases, though Dutch residents can simply send a payment via the iDEAL network.

Overcoming obstacles

The announcement is a step forward for CleverCoin, which had reported experiencing trouble when seeking a banking partnership earlier this year.

Although local startups have arguably struggled to gain regional support, bitcoin has maintained a strong presence in the Netherlands, with a number of notable merchant partnerships seeking to highlight the utility of the technology taking place already this year.

Most recently, Dutch startup BitStraat teamed with BitPay to giveaway 100 bitcoin point-of-sale (POS) terminals to Amsterdam merchants, as part of a campaign to turn the city into the "bitcoin capital of the world".

The project notably followed Bitcoin Boulevard, which this summer united 10 merchants to accept bitcoin in the Hague.

Amsterdam image via Shutterstock

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