Coinbase, an American bitcoin firm that has been called the 'AOL of Bitcoin', is set to launch its services in the UK for the very first time. That means from Wednesday, Brits will have the option to see their bitcoin wallets in good ol' Pound Sterling, as well as US dollars. Financial traders will also be able to speculate about the price of bitcoin against pounds and euros on Coinbase's exchange.
The move bring Coinbase into the competitive British market, and co-founder Fred Ehrsam claims that this is because of the forward-thinking attitude our regulators have towards bitcoin and other financial technology. And by forward-thinking, he means that regulators are actually taking the time to understand the technology before trying to regulate it.
Since its inception, Coinbase is one of many companies that has been working tirelessly to to cleanse bitcoin of its many negative connotations. This has cumulated in the launch of its bitcoin exchange in January, which quickly rose to be the largest liquid bitcoin exchange in the US.
Now that Coinbase is setting up shop in the UK, it means British businesses will be able to take advantage of the company's merchant services. Once they sign up for a merchant account they will be able to accept bitcoin as payment for goods and services, immediately convert the currency into pounds, and have the money paid into their bank account.
Sounds great for businesses hoping to accept bitcoin as a payment method, but you do have to wonder how many people in the UK will be willing to use the cryptocurrency to pay for legitimate services. Only time will tell, I suppose. [The Guardian]