Coinbase secures French market regulator’s approval

abdelaziz Fathi

America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, has registered with France’s financial market regulator, AMF (Autorité des marchés financiers). This regulatory nod paves the way for Coinbase to offer its digital currency services in France, marking yet another step in its European expansion strategy.

Coinbase

From Paris, Coinbase will be able to build and launch products and services for the European customer base. Additionally, the exchange operator can build strategic relationships with the global banks.

Acquiring this license would be a crucial milestone for Coinbase. With the MiCA license under its belt, the crypto exchange can “passport” its array of services to several European nations, including major markets like Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

With this new Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) registration, Coinbase is now authorized to engage in various activities within the French market. These include custody of digital assets, enabling the buying or selling of digital assets in legal tender, crypto-to-crypto transactions, and operating a trading platform.

In the broader context of the European Union, the impending Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation is set to create a unified framework for crypto companies. This regulation will allow firms like Coinbase, once registered as a VASP in one EU country, to offer their services across the EU without needing separate registrations in each member state.

Coinbase’s move into France occurs at a time of heightened regulatory scrutiny in its home country, the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have taken enforcement actions against crypto firms, including Binance and Coinbase itself, for alleged illegal securities dealings.

The US-listed cryptocurrency exchange has chosen Ireland as its central base for operations and regulatory oversight within the European Union. Coinbase submitted its license application under the EU’s upcoming Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, which is slated to be in effect by December 2024, to the Central Bank of Ireland.

This move isn’t the firm’s first interaction with the country as Coinbase has maintained a presence in Dublin since 2018, boasting a workforce of around 100 individuals. As of now, it already holds an e-money institution license and virtual asset service provider (VASP) registration in Ireland, a cryptocurrency license in Germany, and various national registrations in other EU member states.

The implementation of MiCA in 2024 is eagerly anticipated as it offers a singular regulatory structure spanning 27 countries and catering to around 450 million individuals. Such a unified framework, overseen by a sole national supervisor, promises to simplify business operations for firms like Coinbase.

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