Coinbase sets up second Irish entity to target institutions

Digital currency exchange’s Custody businesses hold more than $7bn in crypto assets

Coinbase, a digital currency exchange whose backers include Spanish bank BBVA and the New York Stock Exchange, is establishing a second Irish entity targeting institutions across Europe.

The company, which announced plans to expand its operations locally late last year after securing an e-money licence from the Central Bank, said Coinbase Custody International will securely hold bitcoin and other crypto assets on behalf of institutional investors.

Coinbase Custody has grown to more than $7 billion (€6.36 billion) in assets stored on behalf of over 120 clients in 14 different countries since it launched in 2017. More than $1 billion of assets currently held are from European clients.

The platform is only available to institutional investors with a minimum of $10 million in deposits.


“Our international launch is aimed to meet the demands of institutional investors in Europe and beyond. Europe is our fastest growing geographic segment and our international launch is a direct result of client demand,” the company said.

Coinbase Custody has served European-based clients in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands since 2018, but it said having a dedicated presence in Europe via Dublin would allow it to provide localised service level agreements and to fully comply with local laws.

Crypto exchange

Founded in San Francisco in 2012, Coinbase allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, etherum and litecoin. The company has more than 30 million users, while over $150 billion has been traded on its platform.

Having established its European headquarters in London less than three years ago, it also set up an operation in Dublin in 2018, largely as a hedge against Brexit.

One of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges globally, Coinbase was last year valued at $8 billion after a $300 million Series E round in October 2018. Overall it has raised more than $525 million in funding, with backers including heavyweight tech-focused venture capital firms such as Greylock Partners, Battery Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Ribbit Capital.

Former Citigroup boss Vikram Pandit and former Thomson Reuters chief executive Tom Glocer have also invested in the company.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist