London-based crypto firm Blockchain.com said on Thursday it had registered as a virtual asset service provider in Italy, the latest in a string of digital asset firms to do so.
Italy created a special registry with its brokerage regulator in February to list crypto operators with a stable presence in the country, provided they meet certain requirements.
Blockchain.com said in a statement it could now offer crypto and digital wallet services to Italian residents and institutional investors under the regulator, known as the OAM.
Major exchanges Binance and US-based Coinbase, as well as Singapore-based Crypto.com and German investment platform Trade Republic, are among those to have already secured registration with the OAM.
Regulators across the world are working out how to bring to heel the crypto sector, which is subject to patchy rules. Consumer protection, financial stability threats and illegal usage of digital coins are issues on the agenda.
Crypto platforms are looking to bolster their bases in Europe before groundbreaking crypto rules agreed last month by the European Union come into force.
Under the rules, expected to go live after 2024, crypto firms will need a license and customer safeguards to issue and sell digital tokens in the bloc.
“This registration strengthens our position to offer services across Europe,” Blockchain.com said.
OAM oversees financial agents and credit brokers in Italy. It says it can collect and share with anti-mafia and anti-terrorism investigators in Italy data provided by crypto firms on their clients and operations.
Last month, major US crypto exchange Coinbase said it had won approval from Italian regulators to continue to serve customers in Italy. Coinbase had revealed that it met requirements from the OAM, which also implements anti-money laundering controls.
Financial watchdogs across the world are grappling with how to regulate the cryptocurrency market, which remains subject to patchy rules. Consumer protection, threats to financial stability and illegal usage of digital coins are among the top issues on regulators’ agendas.
© Thomson Reuters 2022