Coinbase Goes Global, Launches Bitcoin Services in 13 European Countries

The thriving San Francisco-based Bitcoin exchange and payments processor has bitten off an ambitious first step into the European market. Here's how.

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By Kim Lachance Shandrow

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

That's one big, ambitious step for Coinbase, and for the burgeoning cross-border Bitcoin ecosystem. The scrappy San Francisco cryptocurrency startup is breaking into the European market, beta launching yesterday in 13 countries across the pond.

Coinbase -- which already serves some 1.6 million wallet users across the globe and provides Bitcoin payment processing services to some 36,000 merchants and retailers -- has officially opened up for business in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and the Netherlands.

The San Francisco-based online startup, which went live only two years ago, announced the news Wednesday on its blog.

Related: Finally: Bitcoin Is Coming to Merchants Who Use PayPal's Braintree

The expansion means consumers and businesses within the above-listed countries will now be able to buy and sell Bitcoin via Coinbase using a euro bank account. Coinbase says it expects the move will drive more merchant adoption across Europe and bolster its profile as a tool for cross-border payments.

However, there is a caveat. Underscoring that this is only a beta launch, Coinbase was careful to point out in its announcement that all of its European customers will have "a fairly low daily limit: 500 euros per day on buys and sells." Coinbase said it "hopes" to increase the daily limit "in the near future," as it transitions out of beta mode.

In light of the news, Overstock.com said it will begin accepting Bitcoin payments from its international customers, becoming the first large-scale retailer to do so. The Salt Lake City-based ecommerce giant already made Bitcoin history when it became the first major online retailer to accept the cryptocurrency back in January through a partnership with Coinbase.

Related: More Major Retailers Are Getting Ready to Accept Bitcoin

Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, an early and outspoken Bitcoin booster, broke the news earlier today. "Bitcoin has been readily adopted in countries outside the United States, yet the opportunities to spend Bitcoin internationally are extremely limited," he said in a press release. "We're pleased to offer this service to the millions of Bitcoin users in other countries and believe they will respond enthusiastically."

Several other high-profile companies accepting Bitcoin payments via Coinbase include Expedia, Intuit, Dell, Square and Google.

Related: How to Design a Knockout Bitcoin Mobile App

Kim Lachance Shandrow

Former West Coast Editor

Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here

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