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Coinbase Obtains Crypto License in France Ahead of MiCA Regulation

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has received regulatory approval from France’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF) to operate as a digital asset trading venue in France. The license will allow Coinbase to expand its operations in Europe ahead of the European Union’s incoming cryptocurrency regulation.

French Regulatory Approval

The AMF has granted Coinbase a virtual asset service provider (VASP) license, allowing the exchange to offer crypto trading, crypto-fiat pairs, and crypto custodial services in France. This regulatory approval comes as the European Union prepares to enforce the Market in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, set to take effect from December 2024. The MiCA directive will replace individual member states’ crypto regulations, allowing companies approved under MiCA to operate across the EU.

SEC Allegations and Coinbase Response

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued Coinbase and Binance, alleging they operate as unregulated securities exchanges. In response, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong criticized the SEC but saw it as a step towards obtaining regulatory clarity through legal challenges.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler views most crypto tokens as securities subject to existing financial regulations, a stance disputed by Coinbase and crypto advocates. The SEC also denied Coinbase’s petition for a dedicated digital asset regulation framework.

Circle, another cryptocurrency company, has also conditionally registered with the French AMF but needs to become a payment services provider to finalize its application.

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