American cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has opened an office in Dublin.
Its foreign headquarters will remain in London. The purpose of the new office is to retain access to the European Union after Brexit.
23 EU Countries
Hailing from San Francisco, Coinbase is one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Its UK branch was its door to the EU, where it operates in 23 counties. According to Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK, Coinbase’s customer acquisition rate is highest in Europe.
Feroz told Reuters: “It ticks a lot of boxes – ranging from giving us a contingency, helping us plan for all eventualities for Brexit and engaging with Europe through another base.”
Dublin has become a popular relocation option for companies that don’t want to wave goodbye to the EU from the white cliffs of Dover. Examples include Thomson Reuters, Lloyd’s, JPMorgan, and Barclays.
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The Irish border has become an unfortunate sticking point in the Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU, which had been going so well. This is because the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will be the only land border between the UK and the EU following the split.
Currently, that border is invisible, and movement between the two states is free, the result of the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the region in 1998 after a conflict lasting 30 years. Nobody wants a new barrier erected.
However, as the UK (and Northern Ireland) leave the EU, laws between the two states – including customs rules – will suddenly become different, and would need to be enforced.
The EU has proposed that Northern Ireland remain aligned with the EU customs union/single market following Brexit. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said that this is not acceptable because it would harm the integrity of the UK.
The only alternative that the British government has come up with is a “temporary customs union” for the entire UK if a free trade deal is not agreed upon in time.
Coinbase first got its UK licence in March 2018 and became the first cryptocurrency exchange to be accepted as a customer by Barclays. Coinbase UK brought in $147 million revenue in 2017, but if its American parent is anything to go by, much of that was made at the height of the cryptocurrency craze in December 2017.