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Cryptogambling / Coinbase secures crypto license in France

Coinbase secures crypto license in France

Publish Date: 22/12/2023
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Coinbase announced Thursday that it had secured registration with the French markets regulator, allowing it to offer services in another significant European market.

“Bonjour la France. We’ve received approval in France as a registered VASP. This is an important market for us and represents another chapter in our Go Deep, Go Broad international strategy,” said Coinbase in a social media post.

France’s AMF watchdog granted Coinbase a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) approval, allowing the company to offer digital currency services in the country.

The VASP registration will enable Coinbase to provide custody of digital assets, conduct buying or selling of digital assets using legal tender, trade digital assets against other digital assets and run a digital asset trading platform, as per the company’s statement on Thursday.

“We’re committed to working with French policymakers & regulators to bring the already-thriving local cryptoeconomy to new heights. We look forward to bringing the safest, most trusted name in crypto to retail consumers, institutional clients, and developer partners in France,” said Coinbase.

French regulators, along with their European counterparts, are racing to adapt to emerging technologies such as crypto and blockchain. They aim to leverage their potential for enhancing payment systems and trading while also prioritizing consumer protection.

The European Union is developing the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework, aiming to establish a unified framework for regulated operations of crypto companies within the bloc.

According to MiCA, instead of obtaining registration separately in each EU market, crypto companies will eventually use their VASP license from one country to “passport” into other countries, allowing them to provide services across the entire EU.

Significant move amid regulatory uncertainty in U.S.

Coinbase’s VASP registration marks a significant step for the U.S.-based company to grow in Europe, particularly during a period of increased regulatory uncertainty at home.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been aggressively pursuing the crypto sector, initiating strict enforcement actions against crypto companies. They have filed lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance, alleging illegal involvement in securities dealings.

In November, the U.S. Department of Justice settled with Binance, leading to the company paying over $4 billion. Its CEO later stepped down and pleaded guilty to facilitating money laundering.

The SEC considers numerous crypto tokens as securities, meaning those tokens need to be registered with the watchdog. This necessitates extensive transparency from companies and token issuers, involving financial disclosures and paperwork.

Coinbase has responded to the SEC, highlighting its efforts to comply with financial regulations. The company is advocating for new crypto-specific rules in the U.S. to stop what it describes as “regulation by enforcement.” This approach involves the regulator penalizing companies in individual cases instead of establishing clear guidelines.

France emerges as central crypto hub

In recent times, France has been actively positioning itself as a frontrunner in the tech sector, highlighting its advancements in areas like artificial intelligence and cloud computing. This push is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to transform the country into a prominent global tech center.

Under the “France 2030” plan, France has pledged a substantial investment of 34 billion euros ($36.5 billion) over five years, comprising subsidies and state funding. The goal is to establish dominance in technology, particularly in Web3 innovations.

Notably, France hosts Ledger, a significant provider of crypto custody services valued at $1.4 billion. Companies like Circle, Binance and Crypto.com have chosen Paris as their European headquarters. Recently, Circle, creator of the widely-used stablecoin USD Coin, obtained its French VASP license from the AMF.

Despite market fluctuations leading to bankruptcies and collapses, France is witnessing a rise in crypto adoption. Data firm Toluna reports that ten percent of French adults own crypto assets, with 24 percent planning to engage in buying, selling or trading crypto within the next year.

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