Crédit Agricole and Santander seek custody of crypto under French registration

CRYPT — An asset servicing firm owned by France’s second-largest bank, Crédit Agricole, and Spain’s largest bank, Santander, has registered with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) as an asset servicing provider. digital assets (DASP). The registration, granted by the AMF earlier this week, will allow the entity, Caceis, to provide custody services for digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. At the end of 2022, the company had 4.1 trillion euros ($4.51 trillion) in assets in its safekeeping.

The move adds a major traditional financial services group to the growing number of crypto companies registered by the French watchdog, Reuters noted in a report. The DASP list already includes subsidiaries of other major players in the French financial market such as Société Générale and AXA. Caceis was created in 2005 by merging the asset management activities of Crédit Agricole and Caisse d’Epargne, a French cooperative banking group. With a 69.5% stake, Crédit Agricole is its majority shareholder while Santander holds a 30.5% stake. France has opened up to the crypto industry.

Among the companies registered as a DASP is Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Binance has come under pressure from regulators, especially in the United States where it is engaged in a legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In May, French officials invited crypto firms seeking to escape the current US crackdown, which has also affected major US digital asset exchange Coinbase, noting that the French legal framework provides more regulatory certainty.

“If American players want to benefit, in the very short term, from the French regime, and from the start of 2025 from European arrangements, they are clearly welcome,” said AMF Secretary General Benoît de Juvigny. He was referring to the French regulatory regime for crypto service providers known as PSAN and the recently adopted EU rules on Crypto Asset Markets (MiCA) which are expected to be implemented within the next 18 months.

Despite the generally positive attitude, however, a news report revealed that the Binance entity in France had recently been targeted in an investigation for alleged money laundering and illegal provision of digital asset services. A spokesperson for the exchange said the company conducted an “on-site visit” of regulators, saying it “is part of the regulatory obligations that all financial institutions must adhere to.”

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