Bitcoin exchanges have tended to be rather localized as the cryptocurrency has started to establish itself, but the Dutch exchange BL3P has recently announced that it is expanding its services into the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). Formerly serving mainly Netherlands residents, the exchange, which went live just over a year ago in April 2016, allows users to pay for and sell Bitcoins with Euros. The exchange is also currently the only exchange platform in The Netherlands, so has something of a free hand in establishing the structure of how a Dutch Bitcoin exchange can – and should – operate.

The parent company – Bitonic – was registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce several years previously, in May 2012, originally as iDealCoin, and within a month, changing its name to the much catchier Bitcoin anagram. It’s unsurprising that the opening up of the BL3P exchange to the wider SEPA area was to everyone holding a Bunq account. On their homepage, they proudly declare themselves as “an alternative to regular banks” and that they are “constantly creating new ways to deal with money” – that certainly sounds like an appropriate fit for investors interested in Bitcoin!

Many exchanges make for healthy competition

The EU marketplace is already very competitive in terms of Bitcoin exchanges, but Jeroen Rijnbout of BL3P views this competition with relish and sees it as extremely healthy for the development of the market. As he said to Bitcoin Magazine, “it is good to have multiple exchanges to choose from…Bitcoin trading to one exchange is dangerous, as we have seen in the past”. Expanding the exchange outside of its central Dutch market will also see BL3P establish itself as a reliable wider Eurozone exchange, especially as all SEPA territories can now use it to buy and sell Bitcoins. The trading fee is also a fixed 0.25% on all transactions, both buy and sell.

The exchange also sees the emergence of other cryptocurrencies as being central to future developments with exchanges, although with caution, waiting to see whether a digital currency is likely to have value before supporting it through the exchange. Like conventional trading exchanges, they listen to their customers – if the demand is there, then the service is likely to be at the very least considered for support.

How the payment system works

The deposits and withdrawals through BL3P are near instant thanks to the iDEAL payment method – this is a location-specific payment system for e-commerce transactions, which takes its model from online banking. In use since 2005, Dutch customers are familiar with the platform, and it’s by far the most popular online payment method, with the majority of the Dutch online banking market participating in it.

Parent company Bitonic, founded in 2012, is the largest Dutch bitcoin company, now employing more than 11 staff on a full-time basis. With the Dutch exchange now having sold over 250,000 Bitcoins in just over a year, this expansion into the wider SEPA market would seem timely.