Coinbase has achieved a crucial milestone in its global expansion efforts by securing approval as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) in France.
The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French financial markets regulator, granted the approval, the exchange announced Thursday. This regulatory green light enables Coinbase to extend its comprehensive suite of retail, institutional, and ecosystem products and services to users in France and other European nations like Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain.
France, with its reputation as a hub for innovation and technological advancements, is an essential market for Coinbase, particularly in the broader European Union (EU) region. The country’s commitment to fostering a thriving web3 ecosystem, supportive government initiatives, advanced technological infrastructure, and a robust startup ecosystem positions it as a global center for innovation.
The recent adoption of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation by the EU adds further significance to Coinbase’s approval in France. MiCA aims to provide a harmonized framework for crypto companies to operate across the EU, streamlining the regulatory process for companies holding a VASP license.
Notably, this achievement aligns with Coinbase’s broader international expansion strategy, especially in key European markets. The achievement finds its roots in the “Go Broad, Go Deep” strategic framework unveiled last year, underscoring Coinbase’s commitment to expanding globally.
The VASP status obtained allows Coinbase to offer various services, including custody of digital assets, buying or selling digital assets in legal tender, and trading digital assets against other digital assets.
Daniel Seifert, Vice President and Regional Managing Director of EMEA at Coinbase expressed enthusiasm about the approval, stating, “We’re focused on bringing the benefits of crypto to the world. Achieving VASP status in France allows us to continue to grow globally, onboarding the next 1 billion people into crypto while ensuring consumers’ assets are secure and that compliance is prioritized.”
Notably, the US-based cryptocurrency exchange has opted for Ireland as its central operational and regulatory hub within the EU. In October, Coinbase officially filed its license application with the Central Bank of Ireland under the upcoming Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, which is expected to be enforced by December 2024.
That said, Coinbase’s move to expand in Europe comes at a time when U.S. regulators are intensifying their scrutiny of the cryptocurrency industry, raising the chances of crypto firms moving to friendlier jurisdictions.
Central among those trapped in the regulatory quagmire in the U.S. are Binance, Kraken and Coinbase. Recent punitive measures taken by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission underscore allegations of violation of securities laws, signaling the heightened scrutiny and enforcement actions directed at these prominent players in the cryptocurrency industry.