French regulatory authorities are granting approvals to foreign cryptocurrency firms as 2023 draws to a close, awarding licenses for crypto exchange Coinbase and stablecoin issuer Circle on Dec. 21.
Coinbase has reportedly obtained the Virtual Assets Service Provider (VASP) authorization from France’s financial regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers. Having a VASP registration ensures that a company is compliant with European Union and international regulations.
With the license, Coinbase can custody digital assets and offer and facilitate crypto trading in the country. In addition, the exchange recently announced crypto trading services for institutional foreign investors via its international arm, enabling clients outside the United States to trade Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) against USD Coin (USDC).
Meanwhile, Circle received a conditional registration as a Digital Asset Service Provider, subject to certain restrictions. To operate in France, the company must still receive approval as a Payment Services Provider. “This condition will be satisfied with the obtainment of an Electronic Money Institution license, for which Circle has applied,” Circle wrote in a blog post.
We have achieved a significant early milestone in establishing our European regulatory platform by securing a conditional DASP Registration in France and appointing a Head of French Operations, Ms. Coralie Billmann. Read more https://t.co/IAHY4L1hw8— Circle (@circle) December 21, 2023
The approvals come at the end of a year marked by significant regulatory changes and legal hurdles for crypto firms. Since June, the European Union has enforced the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA), a framework that governs digital assets unregulated by existing financial services laws.
On the other side of the Atlantic, however, crypto firms are facing a tougher regulatory landscape, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission leading lawsuits against crypto businesses. Coinbase, for instance, was sued in June for listing and trading crypto tokens that the regulator asserts should be treated as securities. According to Coinbase, the regulator overstepped its authority by classifying cryptocurrencies as securities.
The exchange is also seeking regulatory clarity from the U.S. courts for companies working with digital assets. Coinbase requested that the SEC create new rules for handling cryptocurrencies in 2022. In the most recent development in this case, Coinbase appealed the regulator’s decision on Dec. 18 after the request was denied.
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