Coinbase Picks Ireland for EU Hub With MiCA Law Set to Open European Market

Forthcoming European laws known as MiCA will allow the exchange to serve the entire EU bloc with a single license.

AccessTimeIconOct 19, 2023 at 8:51 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 19, 2023 at 2:40 p.m. UTC
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  • Coinbase, which has an e-money license in Ireland, said the country will be its hub in the European Union.
  • The crypto exchange is on track to apply for a Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) license, which gives it the right to operate across the EU.

Crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN) picked Ireland as its regulatory hub in the European Union (EU) about a year before the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) laws allow crypto service providers to operate across the 27-nation bloc with a license from just one of the national regulators.

"Ireland has a supportive political environment for FinTech companies, as well as a globally respected regulator," Daniel Seifert, Coinbase's vice president and regional managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in a statement. The country already plays host to tech giants like Apple and Google. "We look forward to working with regulators in Ireland, Germany and beyond, to bring this industry to its full potential with the advent of MiCA.”

Nana Murugesan, the company's vice president of international and business development, told CoinDesk it has close to 150 staff in Ireland and plans on hiring more, citing the country's talent pool and “very good” approach to taxation as advantages. He was trying to get a license ready for when MiCA takes effect at the end of 2024.

“This morning, I had a meeting with the Central Bank of Ireland and we talked about next steps,” Murugesan said in an interview Thursday. “We will immediately swing into action.”

The crypto exchange has already registered in Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, and is currently fighting charges from U.S. federal and state regulators that it should have registered as a securities exchange. In a September blog post, the company said it was targeting jurisdictions with regulatory clarity as part of international expansion plans.

With the registrations it has garnered recently across Europe, Coinbase plans to diversify its business between trading and non-trading use cases, creating things that can be used daily, Murugesan said.

“The U.S. will lose leadership” when it comes to crypto if it continues to take an approach of regulating by enforcement in the absence of a clear federal crypto law, he said.

UPDATE (Oct. 19, 13:56 UTC): Adds interview with Coinbase’s vice president of international and business development, Nana Murugesan.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.


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