Crypto exchange Kraken clears Irish regulatory hurdle

An Irish subsidiary of US crypto asset exchange Kraken has become the latest company to receive virtual asset service provider (VASP) authorisation from the Central Bank of Ireland, bringing it under the regulator’s supervision for the purposes of anti-money laundering and criminal financing controls.

Payward Europe Solutions, a company registered in Dublin, becomes the third big digital asset exchange to register under the Irish VASP regime after Coinbase and Gemini received clearance last year.

It means that the Central Bank is satisfied that Kraken’s Irish subsidiary has effective policies and controls in place to meet its anti-money laundering and criminal financing obligations under Irish and European law.

In a blog post on its website, Kraken said that its registration shows clients and customers that it “follows Europe’s most robust anti-money laundering and compliance standards” and “further underscores Kraken’s commitment to driving crypto adoption across Europe, now and into the future”.

Mark Jennings, Kraken’s head of European operations, said: “Clear and effective regulation is essential for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. As we bring innovative products and services to market, we’re committed to continuing to work with European regulators to operate compliantly under sensible, forward-looking crypto asset regulation.”

It has been among several high-profile crypto companies to fall foul of US regulators this year in a crackdown on the industry. In February, Kraken shut down its US crypto staking service and agreed to pay $30 million (€27.4 million) to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges after the regulator accused it of offering unregistered securities.

The announcement of Kraken’s Irish VASP authorisation comes in the same week that the European Parliament is set to vote on the markets in crypto assets regulation, a wide-ranging piece of legislation that will establish a formal regulatory framework for the digital asset industry.

Under the new regime, crypto service providers such as Kraken and others will be required to register with a national competent authority — in Ireland’s case, the Central Bank — in order to receive a licence to passport their services across the bloc.

Ireland is seen as an attractive destination for digital asset exchanges and issuers once the regulation is in place, with many of the world’s largest exchanges establishing bases of operation in Dublin in recent times.