Behind the scenes: Why Coinbase is eyeing Crypto Netherlands

Coinbase has been a giant in the crypto world for years and most crypto investors have undoubtedly heard of the company. It is currently the largest exchange in the United States and fourth in the world. The American crypto giant is now set for a major expansion in Europe, with the Dutch market taking a special place. Leading this strategic move is Elke Karskens, a seasoned veteran of the Dutch technology industry and current head of the Benelux and Scandinavia regions at Coinbase.

Crypto Insiders spoke with Elke about Coinbase’s future in the Netherlands and Europe, but this story is about more than just business expansion and also highlights the importance of European legislation that will come into force later this year. It could be that Dutch crypto investors will deal with Coinbase more often in the coming years.

American crypto superpower

Today, Coinbase is probably the largest and most well-known crypto company in the United States, but outside of the United States, Coinbase’s influence and control in the market is much smaller. According to Elke Karskens, only a small portion of Coinbase’s revenue currently comes from outside the US. Even if the international market is huge.

“Around twenty percent of our revenue currently comes from international activities, while more than eighty percent of cryptocurrencies are traded globally.”

Because the international market is so large, it is very important for Coinbase to expand into other markets outside of the United States, and a logical destination for such expansion is of course Europe. The arrows are therefore aimed at the European market.

“We plan to invest significantly more in international markets in the coming years and to offer our products locally as needed.” says Karskens.

A bridge between Coinbase and the Netherlands

Elke Karskens is currently Coinbase’s head of Benelux and Scandinavia. She brings with her a wealth of experience from her time at Facebook and other tech giants, but also a deep connection to the Netherlands. “I was born and raised in Amsterdam.” So with this local expertise, you’ll get along well.

The Netherlands is known for its innovative approach and rapid adoption of new technologies. Partly for this reason, it has been identified by Coinbase as a crucial area for Coinbase to expand in Europe.

“The Netherlands plays a crucial role in our European expansion plans” confirms Karskens. “This is not only due to the Dutch population’s growing interest in crypto, but also due to the Netherlands’ strategic position as a bridge to the rest of Europe.”

The fact that Coinbase is increasingly determined to gain a foothold in the Netherlands also has implications for Dutch crypto investors. Coinbase promises Dutch users a mix of accessibility, security and a comprehensive range of services. It also gives crypto investors more choice in a market dominated by a small number of players.

The fact that Coinbase is listed on the stock exchange, while many competitors are not, contributes to the reliability of the trading platform, according to Karskens. Due to its stock market listing, the company is required to publish all important financial documents on a quarterly basis. Karskens says Coinbase’s operations, for example, are completely and exceptionally transparent, which isn’t necessarily the case with some competitors.

“We are listed on the stock exchange, so what happened to many competitors who may no longer be there or no longer active in the Netherlands does not happen to us,” explains Karskens.

Coinbase is currently one of the few international crypto exchanges with an official registration from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) to offer crypto-related services. For example, Coinbase in the Netherlands is also subject to authority supervision if it offers crypto trading services.

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EU crypto legislation could provide a huge boost

This year there are important new laws on the agenda in Europe; the Markets in Crypto Assets Act (MiCA). The law promises to regulate the crypto market in Europe according to a clear framework. Some people don’t like this at all because the government shouldn’t interfere in the crypto industry. According to this group of people, government intervention is nothing short of a mortal sin. This would contradict the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies.

According to Elke, MiCA has the potential to give the crypto industry a huge boost.

“It is still unclear what governments want and therefore what they expect from crypto companies. This uncertainty sometimes causes big problems.”

In many cases, large asset managers and other financial institutions stay on the sidelines and wait for clear regulations because they don’t know exactly where they stand.

“We are very pleased about MiCA. I think Europe is making a good move here, especially when compared to America, where there obviously won’t be any regulations in 2024. (…) We believe that these regulations will make the crypto economy more mature. All players, not just Coinbase, are given a clear framework of what is allowed and what is not. This allows us to focus intensively on innovation.”

Coinbase fights for financial inclusion

Coinbase’s mission goes beyond creating a comprehensive and reliable crypto trading platform; It strives to increase economic freedom worldwide.

“Our mission is to include as many people as possible in the crypto ecosystem.” explains Karskens. “This commitment is particularly relevant at a time when financial inclusion is becoming an increasingly important global issue.”

“If you look at the traditional financial system, it’s actually not really inclusive and fair. Access to this system is actually only possible if you can afford it yourself. We are in a luxurious location in the Netherlands, but in many places around the world access to a bank is not a given. Crypto is much more inclusive and much more accessible. Everybody can participate.”

According to Karskens, crypto offers an excellent solution in this regard. And Coinbase can be a leader in this space. According to Karskens, the mission of giving as many people as possible access to the crypto ecosystem is paramount at Coinbase and is certainly not taken lightly.

All in all, Coinbase is clearly planning to spread its wings and conquer Europe after the US. As a crypto investor, such strategic considerations can only be welcomed. More competition among trading platforms is actually always a good thing. We will undoubtedly be hearing more from Coinbase in the near future.

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