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Coinbase says it will decide on Europe hub in weeks amid hunt for ‘trusted’ regulator

Coinbase says it will decide on Europe hub in weeks amid hunt for ‘trusted’ regulator
CEO Brian Armstrong has railed against US regulators amid an industry-wide battle to establish crypto firms’ legal standing.
  • Europe’s crypto laws mean that firms need to pick one member state from which they can access the 27-bloc market.
  • Coinbase will decide on where to apply for a MiCA licence in the next weeks, vice president of international policy said.
  • Coinbase gained a registration from Spanish authorities on Monday.

Coinbase is close to making a call on where the crypto exchange will grow its European roots as its battles at home in the US heat up.

“We will decide to have one location from where to have our supervisory activities. We haven’t yet decided which that hub will be, and we’re taking our time to think really carefully about what is the right location,” Tom Duff Gordon, vice president of international policy, said at a Brussels summit organised by Blockhain for Europe.

The comments come as CEO Brian Armstrong rails against US regulators amid an industry-wide battle to establish crypto firms’ legal standing.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Coinbase with allegedly operating an illegal exchange and permitting investors to trade in assets that aren’t registered as securities.

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Meanwhile, a new European crypto regime is changing up the regulatory landscape in Europe.

The Markets in Crypto-Assets legislation, also known as MiCA, allows firms to access the entire European market if they get the licence. But first, they need to pick one member state to get licensed.

“We want to have a regulator that we think is a trusted and a tier-one regulator,” Gordon told a Brussels event. “We want to have access to talent.”

For Coinbase, another decisive feature of the winning hosting member state is a supporting government.

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“Not necessarily just of the company ... but supportive of the vision and of the technology and space of the tech sector,” Gordon said.

“We will choose one, but that doesn’t mean that we will cease all operations across Europe,” Gordon said.

Coinbase this year has ramped up attacks on the SEC for what it says are unfair regulations for crypto.

Armstrong said in June: “The SEC has taken a regulation by enforcement approach that is harming America.”

He also accused the SEC of “sketchy behaviour,” and said the agency engaged in “intimidation tactics behind closed doors.”

In the meantime, Coinbase is continuing to collect individual registrations from EU member states, which allows the exchange to target national populations.

On Monday, Coinbase successfully registered with the Spanish central bank.

Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands have also been ticked off the list for Coinbase within Europe over the past year.

Under MiCA, a registration in individual EU countries now will allow firms to continue offering their services as the new laws are implemented and jurisdictions transition into the new set of rules over the coming years.