Coinbase, one of the world’s largest exchanges for crypto-trading, has received a permit for services from the UK regulator and obtained a bank account at one of the biggest European lenders, Barclays.
The step, which marks the first act of major cooperation between the British bank and the cryptocurrency exchange, is aimed at easing access to Coinbase products for UK users, the company said.
Coinbase, which has nearly 12 million users, got an e-money license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. The permit enables the firm to provide payment services and issue digital cash alternatives that can be used for card, internet or phone payments. Coinbase also added support for the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS).
The newly adopted scheme is set to simplify the process of replenishing an account and withdrawing money from Coinbase’s wallet. UK users previously had to process transactions via an Estonian bank, which could take a few days.
“UK customers will benefit from faster, safer and seamless bank transfers. We will start with a pilot, giving a small number of institutional users access to Faster Payments. In the coming weeks, we will begin rolling out to all UK customers, making the Coinbase experience increasingly easier,” said UK CEO at Coinbase Zeeshan Feroz.
So far, UK banks have been keeping away from partnering with cryptocurrency firms and digital assets in general, as the latter are commonly associated with illicit activity and money laundering. Moreover, the recent crackdown on virtual currencies and the operations connected to them from the world’s financial regulators dragged down the entire crypto market.
UK financial authorities had previously joined the chorus of criticism over digital currencies, urging for tough regulation of the sector. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has recently called the wild price swings and volatility of cryptocurrencies “speculative mania.”
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