Coinbase Expands To Bermuda, Eyes Abu Dhabi And Derivatives

Coinbase’s international expansion gathers pace as US regulatory pressures build


hyotographics/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase has been granted a license to operate in the offshore financial haven of Bermuda as it seeks to diversify its business outside the US.

The Class F license, issued by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, will enable Coinbase to conduct activities that fall under the region’s Business Act which includes issuing, selling or redeeming digital assets, among other digital-asset related services.

“Bermuda was one of the first financial centers to pass comprehensive digital assets regulation in 2018, and its regulatory environment is long known for a high level of rigor, transparency, compliance, and cooperation,” the exchange said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Coinbase is also seeking to establish an offshore derivatives exchange in the British Overseas Territory, according to Fortune Crypto.  It will reportedly offer perpetual swaps — a type of futures contract — and other crypto derivatives, previously inaccessible in the US due to tight regulatory restrictions.

In an attempt to seek out alternative revenue streams outside of the US, Coinbase’s move can be viewed as an attempt to challenge existing rivals such as Binance — the world’s largest exchange by spot trade volume.

Binance also tops the list for the derivatives market, far outstripping other exchanges including Bybit, OKX, Bitget, CME and Huobi, Coinglass data shows. CEO Brian Armstrong flagged intentions last year to seek sources that did not rely solely on trading activity, particularly when the markets soured, as seen in recent times.

The exchange faces far greater pressures on home soil, particularly after an entanglement with the securities regulator that has recently sent Coinbase a Wells notice, a precursor to suing the firm.

Speculation is now mounting as to whether the publicly-listed exchange intends to leave the US following a series of high-profile actions taken against crypto firms by the SEC.

“Anything is on the table, including relocating,” Brian Armstrong is quoted as saying during the Innovate Finance Global Summit Tuesday.

In addition to its expansion in Bermuda, Coinbase also announced plans to push out operations in Abu Dhabi as part of a “Go Broad & Go Deep” plan designed to diversify its offerings. It is also moving forward with development in Brazil and Canada.

“Coinbase chose to become a public company in the US because we believe the US would best be served by embracing this fundamental innovation, but we’re also focused on international markets, many of which are moving forward with strategies to become ‘crypto hubs,’” the exchange said in its blog. 

“We would like to see the US take a similar approach, but a regulation-by-enforcement approach in the US is instead leading to a disappointing trend for crypto development in the US.”

A Coinbase representative declined to comment further.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research



Data publishing costs have historically been a bottleneck for rollups, and as more rollups launch, interoperability will continue to be a major challenge. Avail presents a potential solution to rollup fragmentation through its three products: Avail DA, Nexus, and Fusion, which together aim to unify the web3 experience.


The Bitcoin halving is a spectacle that only comes round once every four years


The SEC alleges that Justin Sun spent nearly 400 days in the US from 2017 to 2019


Short-term “sell the news” reactions could follow new BTC price peaks months from now, industry watchers say — but only if history repeats itself


While crypto fundraising remains well off its bull market highs, Q1 data shows capital is returning to the space


Billed as a better BRC-20 fungible token standard, Bitcoin Runes launches tomorrow


Bitcoin miners need to explore unconventional energy avenues or be buried by the financial realities created by this halving