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Crypto exchange Kraken receives VASP authorization in Ireland

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Kraken Exchange
Kraken Exchange

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As crypto adoption continues to speed up, regulators and central banks around the world are becoming stricter about which virtual asset providers are allowed to offer services in their jurisdictions. Meanwhile, it is in the exchanges’ interest to expand to as many areas as possible, but in order to do that, they must now seek authorization from the local authorities.

This is why Kraken, a major US crypto exchange, made headlines, as it just received authorization from the central bank of Ireland. Kraken’s Irish subsidiary, Payward Europe Solutions, was awarded a VASP (Virtual Asset Service Provider) authorization from Ireland’s central bank on Tuesday, April 18th.

“We’re pleased to announce that Kraken has successfully registered with the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP), affirming our commitment to helping drive crypto adoption in Europe,” the company’s announcement said.

The VASP authorization in question came at a rather critical moment for the exchange, as the EU is getting ready to conduct its final vote on the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation. The legislation should pass following the preliminary voting, which recently revealed massive bipartisan support.

The EU is about to vote on the new MiCA legislation

Assuming that everything goes without problems, the changes that will come due to the legislation will require companies operating as crypto asset service providers (CASPs) to register with one of the 27 authorized regulators in the EU. Fortunately for Kraken, its subsidiary has just received such a qualification. This is also important as it is only the third crypto outlet registered in such a way.

Prior to Kraken, only Coinbase and Gemini managed to register, with Coinbase registering last December, while Gemini was the first in July 2022.

Mark Jennings, the head of European operations at Kraken, commented on the Bank of Ireland’s decision, stating that “Clear and effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.” He further noted that the designation was a testament to the firm’s legitimacy and demonstrates to Kraken’s clients and regulators that the exchange is following Europe’s most robust AML and compliance standards.

However, Kraken has been facing difficulties back home, as it was forced to settle with the US SEC over alleged improprieties with its staking service. Due to the lawsuit, the exchange had to pay $30 million in fines and agree to stop offering staking opportunities to US customers.

As for the situation in the EU, it appears that Kraken’s business is in perfect order and ready to meet MiCA compliance requirements ahead of the EU vote, which is taking place today, April 19th. If the new legislation passes the vote, it will be fully implemented by Q3 2024, when the 18-month transition period ends.


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