Luxembourg has granted Payment Institution status to European cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp, providing the firm with a passportable license in 28 EU member states.
The license, signed by Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna, goes into effect on 1 July, when the firm opens its new headquarters in the principality.
The award comes after rigorous security reviews by the Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission spanning nearly two years and an audit by Ernst & Young.
Gramegna stays: "I believe this announcement marks a milestone for bitcoin and digital finance in Europe. Bitstamp is a most welcome addition to Luxembourg’s fintech ecosystem.”
To mark the occasion, Bitstamp has simultaneously launched BTC/EUR trading across the European markets, and is offering free trading in BTC/EUR for both new and existing customers for 30 days.
Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera Capital and chairman and investor of Bitstamp comments: “Luxembourg recognises the economic potential of bitcoin and blockchain technology. It has set an example for other nations to embrace the industry after having conducted heavy due diligence of the technology and of Bitstamp as a company. Bitstamp becoming the first nationally regulated bitcoin exchange is a historic achievement for digital currency.”
Launched in 2011, Bitstamp raised a $10M Series Seed round from blockchain venture capital firm Pantera Capital. The firm has survived the turbulence that rocked the bitcoin ecosystem in early 2015 despite suffering a security scare in January of that year that forced it to suspend operations after losing about $5.1m due to a compromise of its 'hot wallet' system.