February 16, 2004

PayPal acquires eMoney Licence

Over on Simon's blog, he reports that PayPal is to be licensed as an eMoney issuer by the FSA in the United Kingdom.

Simon postulates that "This is a very remarkable moment, demonstrating that of all EU supervisors, the British FSA operates best. They did not hesitate to give licenses to Internet-based new entrants companies such as Moneybookers, Prepay Technologies and now Paypal."

The eMoney licence requirement was always seen as a barrier to entry, raised by the banks to protect themselves, and of no discernable benefit to any other party such as consumers. The eventual layout of the directive said "you don't have to be a bank, but you have to look and act like a bank, and have lots of money too..."

Hence, the EU practically guaranteed that eMoney would not arise in their patch, and people like PayPal would need to bring their bona fides in from the US, which requires no special permission to experiment with Internet money.

Similarly, DGCs have never taken as much root in Europe as they have in the North American and Australasia, mostly due to the regulation and innate conservatism of the people (a.k.a. lack of entrepreneurial spirit). I've seen several efforts to create exchange providers and adjunct branches of DGCs in European countries come adrift, and it all seems to come down to the same thing in the end: eventually the people concerned bump into, and pay attention to, the "not welcome here" sign hung up by the financial regulators.

It's almost as if the message is, "who are we to interfere with the colonialisation of Europe?"

Posted by iang at February 16, 2004 07:57 AM | TrackBack