LUXEMBOURG (April 25th, 2016) — Today, Bitstamp, one of the longest-standing bitcoin exchanges and the leading European bitcoin exchange, announced that it has relocated to Luxembourg following approval for a national license as a fully regulated Payment Institution. The license has been signed by Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna. With the license slated to go into effect July 1, 2016, Bitstamp has become the first fully-licensed bitcoin exchange in Europe.
Pantera Capital CEO and Bitstamp chairman, Dan Morehead, expressed how important this move is for the exchange, telling Bitcoin.com:
[This is] the first time that a bitcoin exchange has been regulated by a country. And in this case it has been passported to the entire continent of the EU. No other exchange has yet been able to get a national registration. So this is a very big achievement.
This news comes after a two-year process, during which Bitstamp leaders met with Luxembourg regulators to learn how to become fully compliant with the country’s financial laws. A large part of this process involved security reviews with the Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission (CSSF), as well as an independent audit led by Ernst & Young. While there, the Bitstamp team noted the regulators’ high level of understanding regarding Bitcoin and blockchain technology. According to Bitstamp CEO Nejc Kodrič, this understanding, combined with the country’s business-friendly atmosphere, is what made his team decide to relocate to Luxembourg.
Kodrič says that his company’s desire to become nationally licensed came after what they saw as a need for regulatory oversight in the Bitcoin space. “With the entire Bitcoin industry growing, the exchange industry growing,” said Kodrič. “We wanted to set up some regulatory regime, we wanted to steer Bitcoin in the right direction.”
The exchange believes that its move to Luxembourg will help achieve that goal. By complying with the nation’s financial regulations, Bitstamp’s national license will be passported to the entire EU, allowing the exchange to operate across the entire continent with what it believes to be necessary and healthy regulatory oversight.
“We are happy to bring this stability to our users […] We were the first in couple things already, we were first to implement/enforce full KYC/AML policies […]” continued Kodrič. “We saw Bitcoin as a currency and treated as a currency and applied the same rules to Bitcoin as fiat currency, and now that [practice] is an industry standard […] Now, being first having this license just pushes the bar up one notch and I think all the other competitors will follow and we’re just paving the way.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if other competitors are working on the same thing trying to get regulatory approval. I would predict in the next 6 to 9 months we’ll see other exchanges making the same steps to bring stability to the industry.
Bitstamp Enables Euro Trading
Bitstamp is simultaneously announcing the launch of its support for euro trading. Starting on Tuesday, April 26, the company will enable customers to trade their bitcoins against the euro. The exchange hopes that this new feature will make trading easier, as users will no longer have to go through the process of trading against the US dollar and then converting it to euros.
Luxembourg’s History of Fostering Innovation
Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna stated, “Luxembourg has a longstanding history as an international leader in innovation. That Bitstamp has chosen Luxembourg as its European hub only strengthens that reputation. I believe this announcement marks a milestone for bitcoin and digital finance in Europe. Bitstamp is a most welcome addition to Luxembourg’s Fintech ecosystem.”
What do you think about Bitstamp’s move to Luxembourg? Let us know in the comments below!
Image courtesy of Bitstamp, uk.linkedin.com