San Francisco-based Coinbase, the most heavily funded bitcoin facilitator for businesses and individuals, said Monday that it has launched the first regulated bitcoin exchange in the U.S. after gaining approval to sign up customers in 24 states.
The move is potentially a huge step forward for the bitcoin community, adding greater legitimacy and broader access to the virtual currency. The precise legality of bitcoin has yet to be solidified on a national scale, so the Coinbase announcement marks a significant step.
Coinbase added the New York Stock Exchange and USAA to its list of investors just last week, registering a huge $75 million funding round. Coinbase reportedly has “regulatory approval” in nearly half of all states, including New York and California.
The company can only offer services to customers that sign up in states were it is approved, but Coinbase says there are plans to gain approval in further states.
“If you are a Coinbase user in one of the 24 supported U.S. states or territories, you can begin trading immediately on Coinbase Exchange,” the company states on its website Monday. States that are not supported by Coinbase at this time include, Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada and Texas.
Coinbase says that it will waive trading fees through March 30th, “after which we will move to a maker-taker model.” Exchanges made via the Coinbase service will include a 0.25 percent commission fee. Customer funds stored in Coinbase USD Wallets are held with an FDIC-insured financial institution.
Coinbase already offers exchange services in 19 countries overseas. CEO Brian Armstrong reportedly wants the company to expand its reach to at least 30 countries overall by the end of 2015.
Coinbase has seen robust growth over the past year in funding and business clients. The company has landed several big name partners that have started accepting bitcoin, Overstock, Dell, Square, Mozilla and Wikipedia.