Crypto exchange Bybit revealed it has acquired a license to operate as an exchange and custody service in Cyprus. The world’s third most visited crypto exchange will begin offering trading between crypto and fiat currency pairs, and crypto-related financial services.
Cyprus is the third most populous island in the Mediterranean Sea, with a population of 1.2 million people. In a press release, Ben Zhou, the co-founder and CEO of Bybit, explained the importance of expanding the group’s global presence, highlighting the role of crypto as a way of opting out of the legacy financial system:
“We are excited to introduce the Crypto Ark to Cyprus.“
Cyprus is increasingly a crypto hotspot in the Mediterranean, in some parts driven by actions from the public sector. In 2022, Kyriacos Kokkinos, the deputy minister to the president for research at the time, explained that the country would become a hub for new disruptive technologies, including blockchain.
The Cypriot central bank has previously warned against crypto, while a decade has passed since a run on Cypriot banks induced a 600% price increase for Bitcoin (BTC). In 2021, Cyprus expressed its intentions to embrace blockchain technology and crypto by advancing the bill on Distributed Ledger Technology Law; however, in April 2023, the Cypriot Ministry of Finance decided not to move forward with the bill.
Nonetheless, adoption levels pale compared to those observed on the island of Malta, another Mediterranean nation. Malta offers three times as many blockchain-related jobs per capita and is commonly referred to as “Blockchain Island,” while Bitcoin OGs, including Adam Back, speak highly of the crypto environment in Malta.
Furthermore, crypto industry behemoth Binance recently announced it would deregister in Cyprus. Initially headquartered in China, Binance now hosts offices worldwide and in crypto-friendly hotspots such as Dubai and Bahrain, and has abandoned Cyprus to focus on larger markets.
Bybit recognizes the “Immense potential of the Cyprus market,” and the newly-approved license will help grow the local cryptocurrency ecosystem.