Crypto exchange giant Coinbase announced Saturday it had won an an e-money license from the Central Bank of Ireland, one of only a few companies in the country to do so. 

The approval from the Central Bank of Ireland marks an expansion for Coinbase’s operations in Ireland, following the opening of its Dublin office last year. It also represents a step forward in securing access to European customers ahead of Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, known as Brexit, which is scheduled for October 31.

Coinbase received an e-money license from the British Financial Conduct Authority last year, granting it access to London, a fintech powerhouse. But Brexit could make it difficult for companies like Coinbase to operate in the space. Depending on the terms of Britain’s trade deal with the EU, European services could find it challenging to make the most of Britain’s tech industry.


“Coinbase’s choice of Dublin for this operation reinforces the strength of Ireland as a destination for financial services companies, providing a consistent, certain, pro-enterprise policy environment for businesses to grow and thrive,” said Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland.

An e-money license would let Coinbase handle fiat currency as digital assets. That’s different to handling Bitcoin, which is a decentralized form of digital currency that is not a store of fiat currency.

Just because e-money is different to Bitcoin, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be used with blockchain. Two weeks ago, global supply payments service Tradeshift completed a purchase from IKEA Iceland in the Icelandic Krona using the Ethereum blockchain. 

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