Ahead of landmark legislation, Revolut, a digital bank centered in the United Kingdom, has announced a plan to expand its bitcoin (BTC) services to some 17 million potential customers in the European Union and its greater economic area.
The story begins in mid-August 2022, as official speculation on the content of an upcoming Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill was published, ahead of the law’s official passage within the EU parliament.
Although the complete implications of this new legal regime have yet to be revealed, it is known to the public that major negotiations concluded sometime in July.
Including comprehensive definitions on popular financial instruments like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and stablecoins, MiCA is intended to standardize the rules on defining cryptocurrency projects and is not known to have any particular stigma against proof-of-work blockchain algorithms such as Bitcoin.
Although many of the finer details of MiCA are still not known to the public, it is known that consensus has been reached on all the major points, which has allowed companies to begin releasing their own MiCA-compliant business plans.
On Aug. 16, Revolut, a digital bank based in the U.K., announced that it plans to expand bitcoin services to customers all over the EU.
The infrastructure for this hub is to be based in Cyprus, and the plan has already received approval from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) to set up shop.
The fact that these plans are made to fit within the compliance of an unpassed law are just some of the peculiar legal quandaries associated with this new plan.
Not only is the bank’s home country of origin, the United Kingdom, not actually part of the European Union anymore, but this new digital asset hub will be set in a country whose EU status is something of a special issue.
Revolut has already filed a Temporary Restoration Regime form, allowing it to continue access to EU markets despite Brexit and the tangled mess of international trade agreements between Britain and the EU.
The Republic of Cyprus, on the other hand, is officially a member of the European Union, but this government only consists of approximately two-thirds of the actual island of Cyprus.
The remaining one-third is part of an ongoing and unresolved border dispute with Turkey. Resolving the trade deals between these sections of the island can be a thorny issue.
However, shortly after the initial deal was announced, it was published on Aug. 19 that Revolut received permission to operate not only in Cyprus, but also other EU nations and faraway bitcoin hubs like Singapore.
Revolut cited Cyprus’ “sophisticated and robust regulatory regime” in its decision, claiming in its press release that by “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.”
While offering these services to millions of new users, the announcement also affirms that the retention of millions of British customers is a high priority for Revolut.
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It will be an interesting test case to see how Revolut handles operating within these jurisdictions, especially as MiCA goes from a series of published rumors into an international legal regime.
Despite uncertainty on several fronts, Revolut’s bold decision to expand services on this scale speaks to more than just the borderless nature of Bitcoin’s vision and community.
A plan like this could only be formulated, most especially, with the knowledge that the regulatory ecosystem in several different countries is going to be very accommodating to the world’s No. 1 decentralized internet currency in the future.
Despite large amounts of political turmoil that has even caused Revolut’s home country to have uncertain connections to this broad economic bloc, enough actors are convinced that bitcoin is the way forward that ambitious expansions like this become possible. - nasdaq