As previously reported, in the case of an eventual Brexit, the U.K. and the E.U. agreed to leave the border between the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland open. However, the U.K. intends to leave the E.U. Customs Union.
San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has opened a new office in Dublin, Ireland, according to an announcement published Oct. 15. In addition to helping expand its operations in Europe, the new Irish offices are reportedly part of a contingency plan for when the U.K. leaves the E.U.
Per the announcement, the Dublin team will take on a number of new business-related functions, while London will remain Coinbase’s main office in Europe. The Irish Minister for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy commented on the exchange’s expansion:
“I am delighted that Coinbase is opening an office in Dublin. This decision highlights the competitive offering and attractiveness of Ireland for financial services.”
Coinbase’s U.K. CEO Zeeshan Feroz told the Guardian that the company is looking to capitalize on the talent pool available in Ireland. Feroz further added that the Irish office would enable Coinbase to serve its customers in the E.U. should the U.K. leave:
“It is also a plan B for Brexit. As we plan for all eventualities, it’s important that we continue servicing our customers across Europe, and Ireland would be our preferred choice there if it comes to it.”
British finance minister Philip Hammond expressed hope that blockchain technology could help ensure seamless post-Brexit trade between the U.K. and the E.U., as it enables product movement to be recorded transparently and without changes.
In December last year, digital consultancy group Reply published a study called «Blockchain for Brexit,» where it provided an insightful analysis of how blockchain could help with post-Brexit U.K.-E.U. trade. «The primary contribution of blockchain here is to establish a robust and watertight data trail for goods,» the report reads, arguing that such a trail would «reduce the need for inspections at the border.»
Ireland itself has gained a reputation in Europe as a hub for the tech industry, due in part to its low corporate taxes and proactive measures to bring business to the country. In June, IDA Ireland, a governmental agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment, started an initiative to promote blockchain investment and development in the country.
In May, academics at the National University of Ireland Galway urged the government to promote blockchain in the country, arguing that the technology’s potential impact on economic growth could transform business and government operations. Ireland is also a signatory to the European Blockchain Partnership, which was created by the European Commission this spring.