Kraken, OKX the latest crypto exchanges moving into new markets

Kraken now has registrations in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Ireland leading up to the implementation of EU’s MiCA regulation


OKX President Hong Fang | Permissionless II by Blockworks


Kraken is the latest crypto exchange set to move into a new market after securing regulatory approval to operate in the Netherlands. 

The company’s virtual asset service provider (VASP) registration from the Dutch Central Bank allows it to offer its products to retail clients and professional traders there, the company said Thursday.

The Netherlands has “the highest fintech adoption rate among developed economies,” Kraken said in a blog post. Roughly 20% of Dutch citizens own crypto, according to the exchange.

The registration comes after Kraken said in October it would acquire Dutch crypto broker Coin Meester BV (BCM).

“The European market for crypto services is highly fragmented and we see significant opportunity for consolidation to strengthen our position in the region,” Kraken CEO David Ripley said at the time. 

Crypto exchanges have flocked to Europe and elsewhere amid an uncertain regulatory environment in the US for such entities.  

Read more: Coinbase is ramping up global efforts with ‘forward-looking regulators’

Europe, in particular, has become an attractive option for crypto exchanges to set up shop ahead of the implementation of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation. 

Under MiCA — passed last April — crypto asset services providers looking to serve European Union clients must gain licenses from national authorities. The framework expects to go into effect at the end of 2024.

Coinbase selected Ireland as its “EU MiCA hub” in October. Kraken received an EU e-money institution license from the Central Bank of Ireland and a VASP registration from the Bank of Spain last year.

Read more: Why crypto companies are flocking to Ireland ahead of MiCA

Outside of Europe, competing crypto exchange OKX also expanded to a new market earlier this week. 

The company’s new Argentina platform allows crypto trading and staking for users in South American countries. 

Argentinian banking giant Banco Galicia added crypto trading to its investment platform in 2022. The country’s people more recently elected as its president Javier Milei, a libertarian who has expressed support for bitcoin.

“Consumer demand for crypto assets continues to surge as innovations in the country evolve at a stunning pace,” OKX President Hong Fang said in a statement. “It’s that combination of an established crypto foothold and swift evolution that makes Argentina so exciting as our next market.”

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