Coinbase, the prominent U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange, has secured a significant license from France's AMF watchdog, enabling the company to operate digital currency services within the country.
The approval, known as a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license, allows Coinbase to engage in various crypto-related activities in France. These include offering custody of digital assets, trading digital currencies against legal tender, facilitating transactions between digital assets, and operating a digital asset trading platform, CNBC Reported
France, like other European nations, has been navigating the emergence of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies while ensuring consumer protection. Coinbase's VASP registration aligns with the nation's efforts to adapt to these evolving financial landscapes.
The move signifies Coinbase's strategic expansion into Europe amid a challenging regulatory environment in the United States. U.S. regulators, particularly the SEC, have recently taken aggressive actions against crypto firms. Both Coinbase and competitor Binance faced legal action from the SEC, alleging illegal securities dealings, creating a complex and uncertain environment for crypto companies domestically.
Coinbase has responded to these challenges by advocating for clear regulations specific to the crypto industry in the U.S., aiming to mitigate what it terms "regulation by enforcement." The company aims to align its practices with financial regulations and seeks a more transparent regulatory framework.
For France, this move from Coinbase arrives amid President Emmanuel Macron's endeavor to position the country as a global tech leader, emphasizing technologies like artificial intelligence and Web3. France has dedicated substantial funding, amounting to 34 billion euros over five years, to bolster its technological advancements and become a hub for innovative technologies.
France's increasing crypto adoption, with a reported 10% of adults currently owning crypto assets and 24% planning to engage in crypto-related activities in the coming year, is occurring despite recent market fluctuations.
Coinbase's acquisition of the VASP license in France serves as a pivotal step for the exchange's European expansion and underscores the complexities and regulatory differences faced by crypto firms in various global markets.