Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets, obtained a bank account with U.K. lender Barclays, the company said Wednesday, in a move that will make it easier for British customers to use its product.
The deal marks the first major partnership between a U.K. bank and a cryptocurrency exchange.
The most noticeable update will be Faster Payments which will simplify the process of topping up and withdrawing money from Coinbase. Previously, U.K. users had their transactions processed through an Estonian bank, which could take a few days.
“U.K. customers will benefit from faster, safer and seamless bank transfers. We will start with a pilot, giving a small number of institutional users access to Faster Payments. In the coming weeks, we will begin rolling out to all U.K. customers, making the Coinbase experience increasingly easier,” Zeeshan Feroz, U.K. CEO at Coinbase, said in a blog post.
Feroz said Barclays “approached it with the right mindset” and closely scrutinized Coinbase’s compliance processes. An e-money license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) helped get the deal done.
“It’s an approval of the compliance and the KYC processes we have today,” Feroz said of the FCA license. “There’s an element of trust here in a business that is regulated by the FCA.”
The license doesn’t cover Coinbase’s cryptocurrency activities and Feroz said: "The way to think about it is that’s all the fiat money that we handle: money in, money out.”
The UK is Coinbase’s biggest market in Europe and is twice as large as the next biggest, Feroz said. He declined to name the second largest country.
Coinbase is among the most well-known platforms used to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. On November 29, last year, it announced that it had reached a user base of 13 million – and since then, this figure has risen by an additional 100,000 accounts.