French regulatory authorities have this week awarded licences to crypto exchange Coinbase and stablecoin issuer Circle. While Coinbase is now registered as a VASP, Circle has so far obtained a conditional registration in the country.

Coinbase obtained the VASP registration issued by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) known as ‘PSAN’ - Prestataire de Services sur Actifs Numériques. This registration allows the exchange to offer its full suite of retail and institutional products and services to local users, including custody of digital assets, buying or selling such assets for legal tender and trading between different crypto assets.

“We’re focused on bringing the benefits of crypto to the world. Achieving VASP status in France allows us to continue to grow globally in the best possible way, onboarding the next 1 billion people into crypto while ensuring consumer’s assets are secure and that compliance is prioritised,” - Daniel Seifert, Vice President and Regional Managing Director, EMEA at Coinbase.

According to the exchange, France has a thriving Web3 ecosystem and a reputation for innovation and attracting technological advancement. France is also an important market due to the recent adoption of MiCA by the EU. Coinbase believes that this represents a pivotal moment for cryptocurrency in the region. The exchange also pointed out that the demand for crypto in France is increasing as  “some 60% of French adults believe that the global financial system unfairly favours powerful interests.” These words echo the exchange’s recent statement on its financial support for the Fairshake Super PAC and its viral advert. Some might even suggest that “fighting against an unfair global financial system” is becoming an unofficial Coinbase marketing slogan.

Meanwhile, USDC issuer Circle has also secured a ‘PSAN’ registration with the AMF, which it applied for back in March. At the moment, the registration is conditional and to remove the limitations and start operations in the country, Circle must first obtain approval as a payment services provider. According to the company’s statement, this condition will be met by obtaining an Electronic Money Institution license, which the company also applied for in March. The company has stated its commitment to making France a key regional activity hub.

"The selection of France as our European regulatory base builds on the country's clear rules for responsible innovation in fintech and digital assets, while leveraging France's dynamic entrepreneurial, technological, banking and financial services ecosystem," - Dante Disparte, Circle's Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy.

While authorities in the European Union are enforcing MiCA, a new regulation framework that governs digital assets, and welcome crypto companies that meet their requirements, their colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic seem to be getting even more “toxic” towards crypto companies. Coinbase, for example, while applauding the regulatory clarity in the EU, has to fight against the U.S. SEC, which refuses to develop a framework for crypto regulation and has sued the exchange and other industry players. In wake of this, other major exchanges are also shifting focus to the European market.

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