Coinbase unveils aggressive expansion plan in Europe

abdelaziz Fathi

Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange operator Coinbase has revealed plans to expand into Europe, possibly to offset the sluggish growth in its core markets as crypto winter bites.

Coinbase

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.

“When we entered U.K. and Europe, this was actually during the last big bear market in 2015-2016. But then when you fast forward to 2017-2018, the U.K. is now a massive part of our business, as is Europe. We entered, we made bets. I’m sure it was probably a tough time. But it’s paid off, significantly,” said Murugesan, who joined Coinbase in January 2022.

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.

Later this year, Coinbase will migrate all advanced trading into one unified Coinbase account. Per its statement, the move aims to bring customers access to features like staking, borrow, dapp wallet, and Coinbase Card from a single platform balance.

Armstrong said: “In past crypto winters, trading revenue (our largest revenue source) has declined significantly. While it’s hard to predict the economy or the markets, we always plan for the worst so we can operate the business through any environment.”

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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