Coinbase is ramping up its hiring in London—Brexit be damned—as part of its expansion plan in Europe. The cryptocurrency exchange said it expects to boost headcount in the UK capital by roughly eight times, with a staff in the “hundreds” by the end of the year.
Coinbase is one of the biggest crypto-trading platforms in the US, and has provided services in Europe, where the UK is its biggest market, since 2014. Its EU business grew twice as fast as any other market last year, according to a statement. Zeeshan Feroz, Coinbase’s UK CEO, said the platform is hiring people every week across its London teams as crypto adoption quickens in Europe.
The company is also making a push for greater regulatory recognition. Coinbase’s exchange itself isn’t regulated in the same way as London Stock Exchange, as there’s no framework for digital assets, but it received an e-money license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, meaning it meets stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) standards, among other things. The crypto exchange also said it’s rolling out support for the UK’s real-time Faster Payments system.
Though bitcoin has been around for roughly a decade, global watchdogs have only somewhat recently reacted to the mania surrounding it. Regulators are expected to focus on rules to prevent cryptocurrencies from being used for money laundering and illicit finance at next week’s G20 meeting. “The rules are designed to keep the bad guys out of the system, and I welcome that,” Feroz said. “Any responsible business should have checks around who their customers are.”
Coinbase’s e-money license can be applied in other EU countries, which Feroz says will make it easier to build partnerships and relationships throughout the bloc. That could unravel depending on how negotiations proceed during the UK’s divorce from the EU. Feroz said even though a contingency plan is in place, Brexit is a topic that’s discussed almost daily at the company.