Cyprus Emerging as Preferred EU Crypto Base
Earlier this month, U.K.-based digital bank Revolut was granted authorization by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CYSEC) to offer crypto services across the European Economic Area (EEA) which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
The U.K. FinTech unicorn, which first started facilitating cryptocurrency trades for its customers in 2017, this month upped the ante with the addition of 22 new tokens now available to its customers in the European Union (EU) and the U.K.
More on this: Revolut Adds New Crypto In Bid to Become Super App
The news makes Revolut the latest in a string of firms offering crypto services that have chosen to route their EU operations through a Cypriot license in a bid to maintain their regional foothold and take advantage of the EU passporting rules.
In March, crypto exchange platform FTX launched in Europe through an incorporated investment firm in Cyprus that is passported to the EEA, while Israeli multinational social trading and multi-asset investment company, eToro, has been registered in the country since 2010.
Meanwhile, Crypto.com, CMC Markets and BitPanda have all also obtained licenses from CYSEC.
Sophisticated, Robust Regulatory Regime
With the EU-wide Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation set to come into effect in 2024, any firm that wants to offer services related to crypto assets will have to do so through an entity registered with an EU-based regulator like CYSEC.
The European Island country, a FinTech favorite for its crypto-friendly regulatory regime, has proposed the “Distributed Ledger Technology Bill” which will clarify the legal status of crypto assets and create a clear regulatory framework for companies offering crypto services.
In comments made to Blockworks on the anticipated act, Kyriacos Kokkinos, Cyprus deputy minister to the president for research, innovation and digital policy, said, “Through focusing on the technology sector, especially on new and disruptive technologies, like fintech and blockchain, we aim to build a new pillar of the economy that will give economic competitiveness and social prosperity.”
And Revolut seems to see that potential. According to Altfi, a company spokesperson said that “in establishing a hub for our crypto operations in the EU, we recognize that CYSEC has in-depth knowledge of crypto and its efforts to be a leader in crypto regulation.”
The neobank further said it picked Cyprus after an “in-depth survey of all EU countries,” with CYSEC chosen due to its “sophisticated and robust regulatory regime, as well as the strength of the existing crypto industry in Cyprus.”
Elsewhere, other European countries have also moved ahead with laws that require crypto firms to register with national authorities to offer their services.
Since May, for instance, crypto platforms that want to do business in Italy need to be listed on a national register administered by the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM) that is specifically devoted to crypto asset service providers and crypto wallets.
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