In a significant development for the cryptocurrency sector, crypto company Ripple (XRP) has selected Ireland as its primary entry point into the European Union market.
The company has taken a crucial step by registering with the Central Bank of Ireland as a virtual asset service provider (VASP), marking a strategic move in its global expansion plans.
Further reinforcing its commitment to the Irish market, Ripple has announced its intention to acquire a license from Ireland.
This proactive decision aims to align with the upcoming EU-wide regulatory framework for crypto firms.
The impending implementation of the Markets in Crypto-Asset (MiCA) regulation, set to be in force by the end of next year, presents a unique opportunity for industry players. Under MiCA, firms can choose a single EU member state for their licensing. Once obtained, this license can be ‘passported’ across the EU. This access to 450 million people across Europe. Ripple’s choice of Ireland for its base and licensing could be a precursor to Ireland emerging as a new hub for the crypto industry within the EU.
Eric van Miltenburg, Ripple’s senior vice president for strategic initiatives said:
“By providing regulatory clarity for the industry, Ireland — and the EU more broadly — are boosting confidence in the digital assets, payments and fintech ecosystem.”
Irish Ministry of Finance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This development with Ripple follows closely on the heels of Coinbase, which also recently selected Dublin as the location for its European Union headquarters and to obtain a MiCA (Markets in Crypto-Assets) license. Coinbase’s decision, made just two months prior, further underscores Dublin’s growing significance as a strategic hub for the cryptocurrency industry within the EU.
Ripple’s positioning in Dublin, joining other tech giants like Google, Meta, and Apple, is a testament to Ireland’s appeal to global tech firms . This has been attributed to its tech-friendly policies and competitive corporate tax rates. Established in Dublin since 2022, Ripple is leveraging Ireland’s favorable business environment as part of its broader expansion strategy.
However, Ripple’s operations contrast sharply with its ongoing legal challenges in the United States. Since 2020, Ripple has been entangled in a lawsuit with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC accuses Ripple of engaging in the sale and fundraising of unregistered securities through its native token, XRP.
In a recent development, Ripple experienced a small victory when the SEC withdrew its charges against two executives in October. This move is significant but doesn’t fully resolve the ongoing legal battle. The outcome of this case is poised to be a landmark event, potentially setting a precedent for the cryptocurrency industry’s quest for legitimacy and regulatory clarity in the United States.
Amid these challenges in the US, Europe’s regulatory landscape appears more inviting for companies dealing in cryptocurrencies and related services. The region is increasingly seen as more conducive and predictable for crypto firms. Clear regulations and defined pathways for operating in Europe present a stark contrast to the uncertain and evolving regulatory scenario in the US.
This dichotomy between the two regions highlights the strategic importance of Ripple’s growth in Europe, particularly in Ireland. The move suggests a broader trend. Crypto firms may look to Europe for growth and stability amid regulatory uncertainties elsewhere.