Bitstamp Gets Europe License, Launches BTC/EUR Trading

canstockphoto36259468It’s a day of firsts for Bitstamp.

The Europe-based bitcoin exchange announced this morning that Luxembourg has granted the company a license as a “fully regulated” payment institution, making it Europe‘s first licensed bitcoin exchange. It will now be able to operate in 28 countries.

As opposed to the U.S., where companies are required to get a state-by-state license, Bitstamp’s license in one EU state, makes it fully authorized for all 28 EU countries. (This state-by-state licensing makes it a more expensive proposition to launch a payments startup in the US than in Europe, among other things.)

Negotiations took more than two years, the company said, with Bitstamp’s new Luxembourg headquarters expected to begin operations on July 1. It will move across the channel from its present home in the UK.

Additionally, the company launched bitcoin-to-euro trading “to better serve the European markets, and is offering free trading in BTC/EUR for both new and existing customers for 30 days,” the company said.

Luxembourg has a long-standing history as a leader in innovation, hosting European headquarters for global players such as Amazon and PayPal, according Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna.

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.”

Founded in 2011, Bitstamp has raised over $10 million in overall funding. In January 2015, the company lost more than $5 million bitcoins in a high-profile apparent hack. A month later, Standard Chartered Bank stopped processing wire transfers for bitcoin transactions. But Bitstamp’s co-founder Nejc Kodric said that the company is now as secure as it gets:

We have put a lot of time and resources into the regulatory process with the goal of ensuring customers feel more confident in using Bitstamp’s exchange and products across the European Union. We are proud to have taken this important step for our customers and the digital currency/blockchain industry globally.

This last line is telling — all bitcoin-based companies should be prepared to pivot to offering services on the blockchain, as well.

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