Just six short months ago all the world’s major banks were solidly against cryptocurrencies, with some even threatening to shut down accounts that used cryptocurrencies. Times change fast these days however, and while some banks remain very wary and restrictive of cryptocurrencies, there’s one U.K. bank that has changed its tune. That bank is Barclay’s and they have agreed to enter a partnership with Coinbase that will give GBP holders a great new opportunity to enter the cryptocurrency markets.
Until now there were very few U.K. banks that allowed accounts linked to any form of cryptocurrency, and very few exchanges that would deal with British pounds. With Coinbase stepping into the breech left by this mindset they become the first major partner of a U.K. based bank, and one of the few avenues for British citizens to enter the cryptocurrency markets.
It’s a huge win for Coinbase, who can now make cryptocurrencies more accessible to British consumers, and at the same time grow their client base. And perhaps most importantly, they now have an e-money license in the U.K., which also gives them access to 23 different countries in the European Union. And it allows them to utilize the Faster Payments Scheme – the UK’s 24*7 Real Time Payment System that enables individuals and businesses to move money quickly, easily and safely.
Support for the Faster Payments Scheme will initially only be available to a select user group, but Coinbase will be working to roll out the feature to users all across the United Kingdom as quickly as possible.
Why the e-Money License
The e-money license is the most important part of the whole deal. It gives Coinbase the ability to issue e-money and offer payment services within the U.K. It also means that customer funds will be kept separate from Coinbase operational funds, which is a key step forward for the company, and for its clients.
This separation of client and operational funds means that clients would retain access to their capital even if Coinbase were to halt its operations. This feature isn’t quite as safe as having funds protected by regulators, but you can be sure it will be necessary in the near future when regulations and regulators enter the cryptocurrency sphere. It meets the strict guidelines of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and will give Coinbase added legitimacy among U.K. and European investors.
Coinbase now has a definite competitive advantage in the U.K., and given their recent focus on growth, it is almost certain they will aggressively take advantage of that. Things are bound to get interesting in the United Kingdom regarding cryptocurrencies, and this could quickly spread all across Europe if Coinbase continues to pursue this type of legitimized growth.