Coinbase, a “digital currency exchange” headquartered in San Francisco, California brokering exchanges of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin with fiat currencies in around 32 countries, is holding talks with the U.S Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to get banking licenses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The report said:
“Coinbase Inc. and another cryptocurrency firm talked to U.S. regulators about the possibility of obtaining banking licenses, a move that would allow the startups to broaden the types of products they offer.”
Currently, Coinbase owns a license to process U.S. bank payments. This is under the “Virtual Currency License” issued in 2017 by The Department of Financial Services.
The other firm, Ivy Koin LLC, a blockchain technology company handling FIAT & cryptocurrency business transactions, is also talking to the US regulators. Their network uses Ivy tokens carrying KYC and KYT data points important for Financial Institution verification.
As more and more financial institutions coming into the crypto market, Coinbase started an expansion strategy which included acquiring start-ups. They bought Earn.com for about USD 100 million in April 2018. Its co-founder and CEO Balaji Srinivasa joined Coinbase as its CTO. As a general partner with the private American venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, Srinivasa brings in a wealth of both crypto and Wall Street-related knowledge into the company.
Business Insider reported that Coinbase introduced OTC crypto trading services and that the $8B firm is opening a new a new engineering office in Chicago. The announcement included:
“Coinbase already offers the deepest pool of liquidity to the largest number of participants in the cryptocurrency space. We intend to continue developing this electronic marketplace, known as Coinbase Markets, by opening a new engineering office in Chicago.”
Coinbase’s bid to join the banking industry and increasing its own portfolio of cryptocurrency-based financial instruments suggests the company is serious in its drive to better serve new crypto players.