Australian financial technology start-up CoinJar has relocated to the UK, which it says is a more welcoming environment for Bitcoin than Australia.
CoinJar has officially reincorporated as a UK company, CoinJar UK Ltd, and has taken up residence at Europe’s largest financial technology accelerator, Level 39 at Canary Wharf in London.
The move follows news in September that the Australian government would charge GST on Bitcoin rather than treat it as a currency, forcing local operations like CoinJar to charge an extra 10 per cent on top of usual bitcoin prices.
CoinJar CEO and co-founder Asher Tan told Business Spectator the UK was taking a much more enthusiastic approach to innovation than Australia, particular with regards to financial technology.
“They [the UK] have a very sensible approach to the regulation of new technologies like Bitcoin,” Mr Tan said in an interview.
“There’s an understanding bitcoin could be really big, so people in all levels of government are trying to formulate policy and work out how they can encourage businesses to situate themselves in the UK.
“I don’t think FinTech companies can be globally competitive just remaining in Australia. There’s a culmination of regulation and a small user base, and all those sorts of things,” Mr Tan said.
Tan has already moved to London and will begin hiring new talent in the UK, including developers, to grow the European operation. CoinJar will continue to fully service its existing and future global customer base and will maintain its current Australian operations.
“CoinJar was born from a disruptive and innovative place, and we are always focused on solving the problems of the future and offering the best solutions,” Mr Tan said.
“As we expand to the UK, we believe this will open up more opportunities for our existing Australian customers to use a better global service.”
Tan said the UK exempts digital currency trading from value added tax (VAT), so new and existing CoinJar customers will not be levied any additional taxes.
“We’re excited to be part of the progressive digital currency scene in London, and we know we can play an important role in this market. Our mission here, as it has been in Australia, is to build great products that people love, that make digital finance simple and accessible to all,” Mr Tan said.
“This is how we believe it should be done. Digital currency is the new face of consumer finance.”
Since its founding in 2013 CoinJar has acquired more than 32,000 customers and processing more than $A50 million in transactions.
As The Australian reported in September the company was also responsible for introducing Australia’s first and only bitcoin EFTPOS card, CoinJar Swipe, which will see a global launch in coming months.
The move also coincides with the launch of CoinJar’s new web platform, while Android and iOS apps will be released early next year.
New Terms of Service will be sent to CoinJar customers from December 1.
The senate is currently conducting an enquiry into bitcoin and digital currencies, a move Mr Tan described as a good start.
“I think it’s a great first step,” he said.
“We do hope to shape Australia for the better in terms of being a FinTech hub, but commercially speaking, as a very ambitious start-up we want to be competitive on a global level.
“We’re not just going to sit back and hope things go our way. Instead we’re pushing forward and trying to create the best product and the best digital finance service in the world.”