One of the biggest hurdles for would-be international bitcoin users is the lack of an easy-to-use, newcomer-friendly and widely trusted service to buy, sell and store bitcoin with. For the last two years, this hasn’t been much of an issue thanks to the existence of popular bitcoin services provider Coinbase. If only there was some way for non-U.S. residents to easily use Coinbase, some observers have said, international adoption in places like Europe could skyrocket.
That theory is about to be put to the test. Starting today, Coinbase is available in 13 European countries. Citizens of Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, and Slovakia can now buy bitcoin with the same ease Coinbase’s 1.6 million customers in the States.
In their blog post about the new Coinbase Global program, the company noted that the offering should still be considered a beta launch. During the beta period, a daily buy and sell limit of €500 will be in place. The company noted that using a “euro bank account” in the relevant countries should be able to access the and use the site.
Coinbase’s move is almost certainly a response to the gains seen across Europe by competitor BitPay, and may also reflect a growing confidence thanks to the company’s seemingly locked-in relationship with eBay/PayPal. In fact, the Coinbase Global site seems to strongly echo the design of PayPal’s international page, adding even more fuel to speculation that Coinbase is being groomed for an eventual eBay/PayPal buyout.