Cubits, the Coinbase of Europe

Thursday 16 April 2015

At a recent local bitcoin meet-up - my first - I met Freya Stevens, who has just joined bitcoin company Cubits as a marketing specialist. Cubits is a London/Berlin-based outfit, which is interesting enough in itself because the UK has a love-hate relationship with crypto, with government and the financial sector firmly on different pages. As it happens, I’ve crossed paths with one of Cubits’ tech guys in the course of working together on another project, and liked what he’d told me about what they were doing. So, I asked Freya, what’s it all about?

Read also: Euro bank integrates with bitcoin exchange 


The Coinbase of Europe

Cubits, she told me, are essentially Europe’s answer to Coinbase, offering a 'full service platform' for Bitcoin with particular focus on serving European markets. One of Coinbase’s great features is its close integration with customers’ bank accounts, meaning it’s simplicity itself to buy and sell bitcoins for USD.

Cubits goes not one but several steps further. ‘Our online wallet offers the ability to buy and sell Bitcoin using a range of fiat currencies,’ Freya explained. ‘Wallet users can also interface with land-based banks in order to move fiat funds in and out of their bitcoin wallet. We offer in/out for 17 major currencies at the moment, including Swiss Franc, Japanese Yen, Russian Ruble and Polish Zloty.’

Yes, you read that right: 17 currencies. Merchant services include full payment processing facilities, with integrated bitcoin payments for merchants with instant withdrawals into fiat to mitigate the risk of price volatility.

The taxman cometh?

One of the things that intrigued me on the website was the HMRC logo - the UK’s tax authorities. ‘This signifies compliance with current UK regulation (as a UK registered company) but it also shows we are concerned with meeting regulation as it develops in the various relevant jurisdictions. Cubits is registered as "Telecommunications Digital & IT Payment Service Provider" under the Anti Money Laundering Regulations 2007. This provides a solid basis of compliance in anticipation of further regulation.’

So there you have it.

What Cubits says to me is that the really important advances in crypto - the ones that will push it into the mainstream - have less to do with tech and more to do with overcoming legal, practical and regulatory hurdles. ‘Increasingly we see a desire in the European market for Bitcoin to become legitimated through regulatory compliance, perhaps in contrast to a more “Libertarian” Bitcoin community in the US that sees bitcoin as self-regulating,’ Freya comments. Even last year it would have been practically unthinkable for a major bank to partner with a crypto business. Now, we have US exchanges forging partnerships with regulated exchanges, and European ones offering instant transfers into a wide range of currencies. Sending cash is only going to get easier from here.

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