Coinbase secures thumbs up to operate crypto business in Italy

abdelaziz Fathi

Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange operator Coinbase has today been handed regulatory approval to operate in Italy. The move comes barely two months after its rival Binance was given the same thumbs up from Rome’s regulators.

Coinbase

As required by the Italian legislation on digital assets, Coinbase is now registered as a Cryptocurrency Service Provider with the ‘Organismo Agenti e Mediatori’ (OAM).

The regulatory nod enables Coinbase to offer its products as the US popular platform continues its drive to operate in compliance with local regulations. It also allows the company to strengthen its presence in Italy by opening offices and expanding the local team.

“Gaining this regulatory approval is a testament to our close collaboration and positive working relationship with the Italian financial regulators. As we continue to grow across Europe and other regions, maintaining our strong regulatory relationships will ensure that we will continue to bring to market the products that our customers want, through the most trusted and secure platform in the cryptoeconomy,” said Nana Murugesan, Vice President of International and Business Development.

Coinbase revealed plans to expand into Europe, possibly to offset the sluggish growth in its core markets as crypto winter bites.

The largest crypto exchange in the US has targeted five potential European jurisdictions, namely Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Nana Murugesan, Coinbase’s vice president of international, pointed out that the exchange has been already engaged in discussions with regulators to set ups new shops in Europe.

Coinbase already holds authorisation from Ireland and Germany, as well as the UK Financial Conduct Authority to operate a multilateral trading facility (MTF).

Murugesan said that roles for regional managing directors, country directors, and other leadership positions were open for these regions. However, Coinbase is mainly prioritizing “mission-critical roles” across security and compliance throughout the year.

Coinbase laid off about 18% of its workforce — or about 1,100 people — earlier this month. CEO and cofounder Brian Armstrong blamed a looming “crypto winter” alongside impending recession as the reasons for making these drastic cuts.

But he also admitted that the company has grown too quickly after it went public last year — becoming the first major cryptocurrency company to do so. Other restructuring  plans also included phasing out its professional trading platform, Coinbase Pro.

The move also comes in anticipation of an EU-wide regulatory framework that will grant passporting rights for crypto firm working across the continent. Set to go into effect in 2024, the proposal offers a bespoke legislative regime for markets in crypto-assets (dubbed ‘MiCA’) and relevant service providers not covered elsewhere in the EU financial services regime.

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