Coinbase, the biggest crypto exchange in the United States, has opened a new office in Dublin, as it looks to increase its presence in the EU. According to the official blog post, Coinbase EU customers grew faster than any other region and even though the exchange considered a number of cities in the European Union, “Dublin was the clear choice.”
Zeeshan Feroz, the CEO of Coinbase UK told The Guardian that, “To begin with we’re housing a significant support team there and we’re looking to capitalise on the talent pool that’s available to us in Ireland and hire other folks. It is also a plan B for Brexit. As we plan for all eventualities, it’s important that we continue servicing our customers across Europe, and Ireland would be our preferred choice there if it comes to it.“
With over 500 employees, Coinbase runs offices in San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and New York, while Asian operations are based in Tokyo. The London office was opened in 2017 and will remain the European headquarters, however the Dublin branch will complement it, as Britain’s exit from the EU looms in the horizon.
Martin Shanahan, CEO of the country’s inward investment agency IDA Ireland, stated that, “Dublin is a talent hotspot for companies like Coinbase as they scale and internationalize critical businesses operations. We look forward to welcoming Coinbase into the Irish economy, and helping them access our talented pool of young professionals from the technology and financial services sectors.“
Up until now, only traditional financial institutions have announced plans to relocate to EU27 (Europe without Britain) countries. Both Barclay’s and Merill Lynch have announced plans to move offices to Dublin and many other firms are choosing other European financial centres such as Frankfurt or Paris, instead of London.
Crypto companies have been reluctant to move their operations and Feroz said that the Coinbase move suggests it is regulated as a financial institution by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). He added that, “clearly […] if we don’t have access to passporting, we have to look for alternatives.“
Passporting is the EU policy, allowing European finance companies to offer services across the entire bloc, rather than applying for a licence in each country separately. Once the UK leaves the EU, the passporting rights will be lost and this threat has been the main cause, driving EU-related offices to look for pastures new outside the UK.
As a result, Dublin has emerged as one of the preferred destinations for tech businesses due to low corporate taxes, English-speaking talent pool and tax credits for research and development. IDA Ireland has started a blockchain development initiative earlier this year, describing the country as “the best place to kick off blockchain-related business.”
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