Blockchain.com gets Florida license, begins hiring

Blockchain.com, a cryptocurrency trading site, can now be legally used by Florida residents.

Blockchain.com, a cryptocurrency trading site, can now be legally used by Florida residents.

Blockchain.com

At least three cryptocurrency exchanges can now be accessed by Florida residents — the latest is a $5 billion London-based exchange now hiring for dozens of jobs in Miami.

Blockchain.com announced Tuesday it had received approval for a money transmitters license from the state, meaning Florida users can now legally buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on its platform.

“Blockchain.com has been [in cryptocurrency] since the beginning, and the reason is because customers trust us to be a reliable, safe, and secure provider of infrastructure for institutions all over world,” said Blockchain CEO and co-founder Peter Smith in an interview.

Blockchain.com raised $300 million from investors in March. It is now hiring for dozens of Miami-based positions.

“While the Miami Movement is all about building a city that lasts forever and works for everyone, it has stretched far beyond Miami,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in a statement. “I’m thrilled that our movement has encouraged tremendous innovation and investment in the entire state. I commend Blockchain.com for its continued hiring efforts and opening up its products so all 22 million Florida residents can now trade crypto, putting financial independence at our fingertips.”

According to CoinMarketCap.com, which tracks cryptocurrency data, Blockchain.com has more than one million visitors per week, making it the 16th-most trafficked exchange in the world.

“As a hub for innovation, cybersecurity and fintech, Miami-Dade is a natural fit for Blockchain.com,” said Michael A. Finney, President and CEO, Miami-Dade Beacon Council, in a statement. “Our international business community offers the talent, partners and global connectivity that companies depend on for continued growth. We support Blockchain.com’s efforts to bring more crypto trading availability to Florida residents, and count on the high value, high growth jobs they bring to our community.”

Even as some Florida lawmakers work to position the state as more crypto-friendly, its Office of Financial Regulation published a ruling last week reaffirming that any entity buying and selling cryptocurrency must apply for a money transmitter license.

“The ruling by the OFR resolves a conflict that had developed…over whether crypto sellers in Florida needed a license to sell their own supply of crypto,” said Justin Wales, a partner attorney at K&L Gates law firm and a cryptocurrency law expert. “Now it is clear that they do. This doesn’t impact crypto users or merchants accepting cryptocurrencies for goods or services, but represents an added regulatory burden for some businesses in the crypto space.”

Rob Wile covers business, tech, and the economy in South Florida. He is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and Columbia University. He grew up in Chicago.