Zeeshan Feroz, Coinbase CEO in the United Kingdom (UK), is trying to achieve a cryptocurrency revolution in the country after Brexit. He explained that blockchain has an inherent potential to connect the unbanked and build the financial system.
During an interview, he said that Coinbase is very active thinking in its new Custody platform that has been released at the beginning of the month. It has already 10 institutional clients with a combined minimum balance of $100 million dollars, something that shows the interest that these big corporations have in the market.
One of the things he mentioned is that he is excited about providing fast payments to customers in the United Kingdom (UK). According to him, it will be possible for users to deposit Sterling and withdraw them to their bank accounts using fast payments.
Then, he was asked about the competition in the space related to the Custodial services offered. He answered:
“We are one of the first, there are a lot of other businesses that are in this space already. I take that competition as a good thing because we need the custody infrastructure for crypto to grow in general. There’s so much room for businesses to grow without having to eat into the pie for the taking. I see it as healthy for the ecosystem.”
At the moment, Coinbase is offering different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Litecoin (LTC). But in the future the company might be able to introduce new asset for their customers. He explained that they will start to take product-specific view in terms of the regulatory profiles of coins and the service they’re providing.
Mr. Zeeshan said that Coinbase is waiting for regulatory certainty to understand how a token is considered, whether it is a security or not, for example. In general, the SEC’s view is that most of the tokens may be considered as securities, but in Europe, he says, regulatory agencies are still forming that opinion. He has also stated that they will keep asking these questions and pressing until there is a clarification on the matter.
Furthermore, he stated that they will continue looking at tokens that are not securities and will try to add them in the future. In the United States, they have the broker-dealer and the ATS license, which will allow the company to offer securities and to support tokens that are registered with the SEC.
At the same time, he talked about liquidity and how they will do to ensure it. But he said that liquidity is not a real issue and that they do not need to consider it given the amount of interest in the platform.
The next question was related with Toshi. He commented on the matter:
“Toshi is really a global product, it is not targeted or built for a specific region. One, it’s a native global product. Two, it’s designed to drive utility. We’ve held the hackathon to help invite developers to build on apps that work with Toshi. You have the Coinbase wallet which is an off-and-on-ramp in many was and then we’ve got Toshi which will hopefully drive utility.”
The company is working so as to bring the right kind of partners and encouraging the right players in the ecosystem to help have global reach and utility.
Regarding Ethereum Classic, he said that Coinbase decided to support ETC because it was relatively easy to add on and maintain the infrastructure.
He kept talking on Brexit and how Great Britain could be supporting the technology even further. He said that London could become a regional and international blockchain hub, and he mentions that there are all kinds of stats that prove that it is a fintech hub. Additionally, there is a high number of licenses that are issued in London, compared to the rest of Europe, which means that the country and the financial centre of London are ready to host more startups and blockchain-related projects.
“I think Brexit could play a part in that because it could allow the UK regulator to move quicker in bringing in regulation that facilitates this space. You’ll be able to create the conditions that could help it flourish. You’ve obviously got Gibraltar, malta and some of these other places that are trying to build it but I think the UK with its talent pool and infrastructure today would be the ideal place for a blockchain business to be based.”
Finally, he said that the FCA has limited control. Indeed, he explained that the FCA has an opportunity to take a role expressing its opinion on what tokens are and how they should be classified. In this way, the FCA may help Europe drive the regulation. In addition to it, it will be important to focus on forward-looking frameworks that would help businesses establish themselves in the United Kingdom and grow.
He finished revealing the plans Coinbase has for London, building a an expert team that will be the base of the operations in Europe. The company wants to have the biggest engineering hub outside San Francisco.
“We’ve got over 100 roles open at the minute as a business in general and quite a few of those are in London,”