Bitpanda, the Austrian cryptocurrency exchange, will stop serving users in the Netherlands from February 1, 2024. The company announced in an email made available to reporters earlier today, citing its inability to meet regulatory requirements as a reason for the sudden exit. The official exit will happen on February 1, 2024.
From that day, the platform will stop accepting new Dutch users, and existing users can only withdraw their assets from Bitpanda. The crypto exchange still allows Dutch users to deposit, purchase, and trade crypto assets on its platform as of press time.
The withdrawal comes amid a similar Gemini pullout from the Netherlands market last year due to similar regulatory issues with financial regulators. Additionally, Binance announced on June 16, 2023, that it would be (similarly) leaving the Dutch market.
Why is Bitpanda withdrawing from the Netherlands?
In the email to Dutch users announcing the withdrawal, BitPanda did not explain why the cryptocurrency exchange was leaving the country. However, it clarified that the problem is not unrelated to its inability to continue operating under the Netherlands’ new regulatory framework.
“Bitpanda is committed to its mission to cooperate and comply with the latest regulatory landscape as dictated by local regulators, which is why Bitpanda has decided to off-board Dutch residents from the broker platform,” the company said in the email.
While Bitpanda is (generally) compliant with regulations in the EU region, analysts believe its failure to register with the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the central bank of the Netherlands, explains the exit.
About the Exit Timeline
Bitpanda’s exit from the Dutch market will officially commence on January 31, 2024. The crypto exchange will end all trades, deposits, and purchases officially.
From February 1, 2024, users will (only) be able to log in, view their account information, withdraw existing assets, and transfer funds. Bitpanda will officially end all deposits, purchases, and trades. New users will be unable to sign up on the crypto exchange.
The final deadline for asset withdrawal and transfer on Bitpanda for Dutch users is February 26, 2024. We expect the platform to allow users to log into their accounts beyond this date, but only to view account information; creating new accounts, withdrawing existing assets, depositing to the exchange, or purchasing new assets should also end on this day. Dutch users with existing cryptocurrency assets on Bitpanda can transfer them to another exchange or sell their tokens and deposit them to their bank accounts until the February 26 deadline.
Netherlands vs. Crypto Exchanges
Bitpanda isn’t the first cryptocurrency exchange to leave the Netherlands. Last year, Binance and Gemini announced their exits from the region in separate statements, citing regulatory difficulties as their reasons. Bitpanda going in a similar direction indicates a systemic problem with the Netherlands’ regulatory framework for cryptocurrency exchanges.
In Binance’s June 16, 2023, statement announcing its exit from the Netherlands, Binance decried its inability to obtain a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license from Dutch regulators, promising to keep striving to obtain the necessary approvals and (consequently) reenter the market.
The hostility toward cryptocurrency exchanges indicates the failure of the MiCA crypto regulatory framework, which (was) intended to unify crypto regulation for the EU region. Firms like Bitpanda hold 12 separate licenses in the EU and still face operational problems. The new MiCA framework might (as well) not exist.
What’s Next for Bitpanda?
The exit from the Dutch market is a last resort move from the cryptocurrency exchange, and it likely won’t return to the country anytime soon. It joins colleagues like Binance and Gemini, although the latter might already seek reentry into the country.
The crypto exchange advised users to transfer their crypto assets to Bitvavo, an alternative crypto exchange licensed to operate in the Dutch market. Against the backdrop of this new development, Bitvavo published a guide showing users how to transfer their crypto assets from Bitpanda.
In any case, users should strive to withdraw all their assets from the Austrian crypto exchange before February 26, 2024, when Bitpanda will stop allowing users from the Netherlands to stop logging onto its platform completely. Bitpanda has not clarified what will happen to unclaimed funds after the February 26 deadline.