The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Coinbase met with regulatory officials early in 2018 to discuss possible acquisition of a banking license. The meeting was reportedly conducted with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to an unnamed “person familiar with the matter.”
If true, the move would surprise few who have followed the company’s expansion throughout 2018. Reports suggest that Coinbase considered registration with the SEC as a licensed brokerage firm only last month, and the company has been aggressively moving forward with new product offerings for institutional investors.
In addition, Coinbase is reportedly going to offer OTC crypto trading services and has created a new Chicago office to focus on furthering development of its new Coinbase Markets product offering. The company’s ongoing expansion has been widely viewed as an indication of its confidence in the future growth of the digital currency industry.
Currently, Coinbase is required to comply with state regulations in each of the U.S. jurisdictions it serves. Federal approval for a banking license would simplify that compliance effort by enabling the company to focus its efforts on compliance with federal regulations. As the WSJ notes, the license would also open up new options for Coinbase to serve institutional investors.
Coinbase has neither confirmed nor denied the Journal report.