The license goes into effect on July 1, where it was granted in Luxembourg. It will then be nationally licensed under the EU’s “passport” program, which allows financial services providers legally established in one member state to be recognized and operate in all of the others.
“This is an industry first,” Bitstamp cofounder and chief executive Nejc Kodric told Forbes. “We are entering a new era where [being a licensed exchange] is becoming an industry standard.”
Bitstamp is currently the third largest bitcoin exchange, but is likely to grow with this announcement. The exchange is also launching euro-Bitcoin trading, which they did not previously offer.
“We believe that this is stability-inducing — that people will see this as a sign of Bitcoin going mainstream,” said Kodric. “It also allows us to be taken seriously and partner up with more serious institutions, because we had a lot of discussions in the past but it always comes to a point where there’s no one overseeing us, and bigger financial institutions are still reluctant to work with unlicensed companies doing [financial technology].”
The move is a huge step for Bitcoin, the most widely used cryptocurrency by far, making its way into the mainstream. Bitcoin users hope this will help provide more legitimacy to the digital cash that many still associate with dark-web criminal activity.