Bitstamp Becomes First Licensed Bitcoin Exchange in the World
Today, the Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission (CSSF) has granted Slovenia-based Bitstamp a license to operate as an official currency exchange, marking the first time a Bitcoin exchange service has received such a permit.
Bitstamp’s license goes into effect starting July 1, 2016, and will automatically cover all of the other 27 EU countries as well, due to the Union’s inter-state agreements.
It took Bitstamp two years to receive an official permit
Nejc Kodric and Damian Merlak founded Bitstamp in August 2011 in Slovenia but moved their operations to the UK in April 2013. During its long history, the service has suffered many DDoS attacks and even a cyber-heist in the winter of 2015, when a phishing incident led to attackers stealing over19,000 Bitcoin ($5 million / €4.4 million) from user wallets.
In 2014, the company requested an official permit from Luxembourg authorities, a center of the international financial world. Despite the highly mediatized cyber-incident, the company recovered and passed all security tests from Luxembourg’s CSSF and even an external financial audit from Ernst & Young, a reputable global company that provides advisory, assurance, tax, and corporate transaction services.
The Luxembourg license Bitstamp has received today allows the company to legally trade Bitcoin in and to any of the fiat (de-facto) currencies in the EU’s 28 states. Until now, most Bitcoin exchanges have operated through intermediaries such as credit unions and banks.
Bitstamp announces immediate Bitcoin-Euro trading option
Before today’s announcement, Bitstamp only offered a Bitcoin-US Dollar exchange system. Along with today’s news, the company has also announced an immediate Bitcoin-Euro trading option.
Since its inception, Bitcoin has raised over $10 million (€9 million) in investments. Based on its transactions volume, Bitstamp was considered the third-largest Bitcoin exchange. After today’s announcement, common sense says that Bitstamp will see a growth in popularity and numbers.
The situation in the EU and Russia are diametrically opposed when it comes to crypto-currencies, with the latter threatening anyone who participates in such transactions with many years in prison.