Barclays has officially agreed to give access to the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase the UK’s Faster Payments Scheme.
The deal comes after the approval of the UK’s financial regulator. It is also the first major alliance between a cryptocurrency exchange and a UK bank.
According to Business Insider, “Coinbase is gaining access to the Faster Payment Scheme, the core payment infrastructure used by consumers to move money in the UK.”
Business Insider was told by Coinbase UK’s director, Zeeshan Feroz, that Coinbase was partnering with Barclays for the payment deal.
“There is no other exchange today that has access to domestic banking,” he said. “UK consumers today have to jump through all sorts of hoops around sending money to European accounts using euros in order to get money in and out.”
The new addition to Coinbase will enhance their customer experience related to “deposit and withdrawal”.
Tuesday, an e-money license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) helped to close the deal.
“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.”
Coinbase’s cryptocurrency activities are not covered by the e-money license.
“The way to think about it is that’s all the fiat money that we handle: money in, money out,” Feroz mentioned.
The first phase of Coinbase’s Faster Payments services will only be available for institutional customers, but will then be accessible for the average consumer. Most of its customers are UK retailers but institutional clients are “significant”.
“We’ve got some institutions that use the platform. These could be funds, these could be other regulated businesses that are offering exposure to cryptocurrencies to their customers. We provide liquidity to them. It’s actually a very mixed bag with a range of businesses,” Feroz said.
Coinbase wants to add 8 times more staff than it has now in London.
“The UK is a huge market for us, Brexit or no Brexit,” he said. “We’ve got access to a type of talent pool you can’t really get anywhere else besides the UK in Europe. We certainly intend to invest significantly in the UK office and the headquarters here. The roles we’re hiring from range from engineering to compliance and everything in between.”