Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, has received approval from France’s markets regulator, the AMF watchdog, allowing it to expand its services in the European market. This regulatory nod, known as a virtual asset service provider (VASP) approval, enables Coinbase to provide a range of digital currency services in France. These services include offering custody of digital assets, buying or selling digital assets in legal tender, trading digital assets against other digital assets, and operating a digital asset trading platform.

Regulators in France, like their counterparts across Europe, are adapting to the rapid developments in technologies such as crypto and blockchain. They aim to harness the potential of these innovations to improve payment systems and trading while ensuring consumer protection. The European Union is working on the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation to establish a unified framework for regulated operations of crypto companies in the EU. Once in effect, MiCA will allow crypto firms, like Coinbase, to use their VASP license in one country and extend their services throughout the EU.

This VASP registration marks a significant move for Coinbase, based in the U.S., as it expands its presence in Europe. This expansion comes at a crucial time, considering the uncertain regulatory landscape for exchanges in its home country. U.S. regulators have recently taken stringent actions against crypto companies, including a multi-billion dollar settlement with Binance and legal actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Coinbase and Binance.

In response to regulatory challenges, Coinbase has defended its compliance with financial regulations and called for new, clear rules specifically tailored for the crypto industry in the U.S. The SEC’s classification of certain crypto tokens as securities has led to increased scrutiny, requiring companies to seek registration and provide extensive transparency.

France has been positioning itself as a technology leader, emphasizing its strengths in artificial intelligence and cloud computing. President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative, the “France 2030” plan, involves a substantial investment of 34 billion euros over five years to establish the country as a global tech hub. Notably, France is home to prominent crypto companies such as Ledger, a major crypto custody services provider valued at $1.4 billion, and has attracted others like Circle, Binance, and

Despite market fluctuations and challenges, France is experiencing growing crypto adoption. Approximately 10% of French adults currently own crypto assets, and 24% plan to engage in buying, selling, or trading crypto in the next 12 months, according to data from Toluna.