BlockFi Eyes European Retail Market in Q1 2021; Excludes the UK Due to Regulatory Uncertainty
BlockFi, a crypto lending service, is eyeing the European retail market with an expected product launch in Switzerland, Italy, and the Netherlands by the first quarter of 2021. The crypto lending firm has already begun the trials for the launch in Italy. However, to many people's surprise, BlockFi has excluded the United Kingdom from the list despite having several London offices.
David Olsson, Blockfi's vice president for Europe and Asia, shed some light on the launch of their retail products in the European market and said,
“They’re large enough markets that it’s worth our while to go in and put the resources to work to get traction there, and there is also the regulatory certainty that they’re more pro-crypto and it’s a stable regulatory environment.”
The crypto lending firm said that they are only focusing on institutional clients in the UK for now. The reason for excluding the UK could also be attributed to the latest crypto regulation update in October made by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The October update prohibited offerings of derivative crypto products to retail investors.
While the October update does not impact BlockFi, the firm is currently observing the country's retail market and regulatory policies surrounding it. The crypto lending firm believes it's too complicated at present to roll out an elaborate business model in the country.
Olsson said that the October ban on derivatives offering for retail investors would hamper the future of crypto services in the country. He said that the ban looks like “it’s putting crypto on a different footing to equities,”