In what is a major step for advancing bitcoin adoption by the existing financial system, Luxembourg today granted the European bitcoin exchange Bitstamp a license as a fully regulated Payment Institution. Bitstamp has also announced that it is launching BTC/EUR trading, marking its connection to the continent.
The license was signed by Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna. He stated: “Luxembourg has a long-standing 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.”
— Pierre Gramegna (@pierregramegna) 25 באפריל 2016
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The license will come into effect on July 1st, when Bitstamp’s new headquarters in Luxembourg will be fully operational. The license is passportable into all the 28 EU member states, providing the exchange with an authorization to offer its services to a very large market from the tiny country.
Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera Capital and chairman and investor of Bitstamp, commented: “Luxembourg recognizes the economic potential of bitcoin and blockchain technology. It has set an example for other nations to embrace the industry after having conducted heavy due diligence of the technology and of Bitstamp as a company. Bitstamp becoming the first nationally regulated bitcoin exchange is a historic achievement for digital currency.”
The firm explains that it took a rigorous application process with the Luxembourg financial regulator (Financial Industry Supervisory Commission) spanning nearly two years, which included security reviews in addition to an audit by Ernst & Young.
“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,” said Nejc Kodric, co-founder and CEO of Bitstamp. “We are proud to have taken this important step for our customers and the digital currency/blockchain industry globally.”