In the past few days, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has seen its prospects for global expansion improve considerably.
On October 14th, Bitso — one of the most popular crypto exchanges in Mexico — revealed the completion of a new fundraising round led by Ripple and with participation from other cryptoeconomy mainstays like Coinbase and Digital Currency Group.
For now, Bitso has remained mum on the amount that was raised in the round, but its chief executive officer Daniel Vogel has said the fresh war chest will be used to help the exchange expand its operations to other key Latin American powers like Argentina and Brazil.
The takeaway for Coinbase? The U.S. crypto giant now has an equity ownership foothold in a brand that could prove influential in the continued adoption of cryptocurrency in Latin America. It’s not just an equity cash-out that Coinbase stands to gain but also operational insights that could be pivotal later if the company chooses to directly expand to the region itself.
As for Europe, the Central Bank of Ireland just handed Coinbase a figurative key to the continent by granting the unicorn startup a coveted e-money license that will help it expand in the European Union.
We're very excited about this investment round that will support our expansion to LATAM! We will keep working to democratize financial access through crypto technology. https://t.co/GuROonuzhe@Ripple @coinbase @PanteraCapital @DCGco @jumpcapital
— Bitso (@Bitso) October 14, 2019
Revealed by Coinbase UK chief executive officer Zeeshan Feroz over the weekend, the new license is notable because it will allow the exchange to rather seamlessly expand its reach toward major European markets. Feroz said:
“Europe represents a huge opportunity for Coinbase and today’s announcement is another positive step for us in the region. The approval from the Central Bank of Ireland will now enable us to expand our Irish operation and deliver a better product to customers across some of our fastest-growing markets. It will also allow us to secure passporting for our customers across the EU and EEA.”
Eyeing New Services
Beyond focusing on expanding its footprint, Coinbase has also been steadily expanding its services.
The latest advancements on that front come as the exchange has rolled out Coinbase Pro mobile apps and Maker (MKR) governance voting support on Coinbase Custody.
Coinbase Pro, the exchange’s portal for advanced traders, had previously only been accessible by website. Accordingly new Android and iOS apps will now make it easier than ever for Coinbase Pro users to trade.
As for Maker, its governance token MKR — which helps underpin the most popular DeFi dApp at present — now has its own dedicating votal portal in Coinbase Custody, a service many of the platform’s users have been patiently waiting for.
Coinbase CEO Unsettled by Lawmakers’ Libra Push
The Facebook Libra stablecoin project has faced some of its biggest setbacks yet over the last week as more than a handful of early backers have announced their official departures from the effort’s governing Libra Association. So far Booking Holdings, eBay, Mercado Pago, Mastercard, PayPal, Stripe, and Visa have left the project.
One notable thread in the wider episode came earlier this month as two influential U.S. Senators, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Brian Schatz, wrote to Mastercard, Visa, and Stripe and asked these companies to depart the Libra Association.
Whether the pressure was the final straw or these companies had already made up their minds isn’t clear, but they’re now all out of the project just the same.
However, the Senators’ pressuring didn’t sit right with some stakeholders in the cryptocurrency space, including with Brian Armstrong, Coinbase’s co-founder and chief executive officer, who said on October 13th that “Something feels very un-american about this,” adding:
“Doesn’t matter what you think of Libra. If it’s not a useful tool or innovation, people won’t use it. Why the need for the intimidation tactics? This would be called anti-competitive/monopolistic behavior if any private company did it.”