Bitcoin Exchange Ties-up with Barclay’s for UK Transactions
Wednesday, 1 of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges has struck a deal which will allow it to open a bank account with Britain’s Barclays (NYSE:BCS), making it easier for UK customers of the exchange to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, the UK boss of the exchange said in a statement.
Large global banks have been reluctant to do business with companies that handle Bitcoin and other digital coins because of concerns they are used by criminals to launder money and that regulators could soon crack down on them.
Currently, Bitcoin is trading at: 7,864.0249, -1,265.67, or -13.86%, as of 2:56a GMT, the market is open.
San Francisco-based exchange, Coinbase, said its UK subsidiary was the 1st to be granted an e-Money license by the UK’s financial watchdog, a precursor to getting the banking relationship with Barclays.
The Barclays account will make it easier for British customers to use Bitcoin, prior they had to transfer Sterling (GBP) into Euros and go through an Estonian bank.
“Having domestic GBP payments with Barclays reduces the cost, improves the customer experience…and makes the transaction faster,” said Coinbase’s UK CEO.
The UK is the largest market for Coinbase in Europe, and the exchange said its customer base in the region was growing at 2X the rate of elsewhere.
The exchange spokesman said that it took considerable time to get a UK bank on board, partly because Barclays needed to be sure that Coinbase had the right systems in place to prevent money laundering.
Regulators across the globe have warned that cryptocurrencies are used by criminals to launder money, and some exchanges have been shut down.
“It’s a completely brand new industry. There’s a lot of understanding and risk management that’s needed,” the spokesman said.
Despite growing interest in both digital currencies and the technology behind them, some big lenders have limited their customers ability to buy cryptocurrencies, fearing a plunge in their value will leave customers unable to repay debts.
Coinbase said it had also become the 1st crypto exchange to use Britain’s Faster Payments Scheme, a network used by the traditional financial industry.
Barclays declined to comment.