CACEIS Bank, the asset servicing arm of European banks, Santander and Crédit Agricole, has registered as a crypto custodian with France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). According to the AMF website, the digital asset service provider (DASP) registration was granted on June 20.

A press release from CACEIS dated June 22 claims that the bank is the first custodian in France to be granted the PSAN/DASP registration. However, the AMF lists many registered providers offering custody services, dating back to the very first registration by Coinhouse in March 2020.

CACEIS goes on to say that it is “currently the only French custody specialist to be granted PSAN status,” but it is unclear how it is justifying these claims. Though many of the France-based registered DASPs also provide other services, there are other companies on the list which appear to specialize purely in custody.

The bank’s move to register as a DASP is in response to “growing demand from investment management companies and institutional investors,” and marks the first stage in the development of a digital assets custody solution which offers the same security as those for traditional assets.

In practice, this means that CACEIS will be storing customers’ private keys, according to Chief Digital Officer, Arnaud Misset:

“In practical terms, we will provide secure storage for our clients’ private digital keys leveraging state-of-the-art technology”

The timing of CACEIS’ registration means that the company will avoid having to comply with stricter registration requirements being brought in at the start of July. These will only apply to DASPs which register after this date, with the existing 60-plus registrees instead complying with the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) legislation which will come into force next year.

Though French regulation may be tightening, it is providing the clear legislation requested by crypto companies, many of whom are setting up European offices in the country. One such company is Binance, although the world’s largest crypto exchange is currently under investigation by French authorities for alleged client canvassing and money laundering.

CACEIS is not a digital assets specialist, and it appears that the move into custody services is its first foray into the crypto world. According to its website, its services include clearing, forex, middle office and fund administration, having assets under custody of €4.6 trillion and assets under administration of €2.4 trillion.

We will Observe whether the bank continues any further along the road to being a full digital asset service provider.

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