Coinbase launches in the UK, aims to cleanse Bitcoins dirty rep

American Bitcoin giant Coinbase, which first crossed the pond six months ago, is finally ready to launch its services in the United Kingdom.

As of today, British customers will be able to load up Coinbase’s bitcoin wallets with pound Sterling, as well as US dollars.

The Guardian says this move brings Coinbase into the competitive British market, which co-founder Fred Ehrsam argues is buoyed by the forward-looking attitude of UK regulators towards Bitcoin, as well as other financial technology innovations: “The payments regulators and the Treasury are taking a very balanced view of bitcoin. They’re really taking their time to understand the core technology prior to regulating.”

UK-based users will be able to trade bitcoin against the British pound and the euro. CEO Brian Armstrong adds that they’re hoping to be in 40 countries by the end of the year.

“I’d definitely say that regulation is more favourable in the UK right now,” Armstrong said. “I have to give a lot of credit to UK regulators. They’ve actually been very forward thinking about bitcoin.”

Bitcoin is a virtual currency with an extremely bad reputation, thanks to people using it online to buy drugs, guns, and even order murders. The virtual currency is suitable for illegal activities because of its anonymity.

However, there are a couple of initiatives to ‘cleanse’ Bitcoin and make it a ‘healthy’ currency. One of those is the Isle of Man initiative. The island’s government believes a combination of regulation and encouragement can not only reverse Bitcoin’s reputation, but also push it towards the mainstream.

As for Coinbase, The Guardian says it “stands out in the loose, anarchic world of bitcoin. It is one of a small group of companies attempting to sanitise the currency, ridding it of many of the negative connotations that have sprung up since it first exploded into the public eye in early 2013.”