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France allows its third-largest bank to provide digital asset services

by Chief editor

French banking giant Société Générale last month received regulatory approval to operate as a digital asset provider in the country through its subsidiary Forge.

Founded in 1864, with assets of more than €1.4bn as of 2020, the bank is France’s third-largest bank by market capitalisation.

Since last month, through its fully integrated blockchain-focused subsidiary Societe Generale Forge, the banking giant can now store, sell and trade digital assets. This is made possible by a Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) solution issued by the French financial market regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).

Many venture capitalists in France are currently trying to find regulated custodial solutions for digital assets. This means that French crypto funds, such as the €100m Ledger Cathay Capital fund, have been set up as unregulated special purpose companies. The latest AMF ruling means that French venture capital firms wishing to safeguard their token investments will be able to use the services of one of the country’s most prominent banking players.

This follows the bank’s previous moves in the digital asset space. Last month, the bank announced that its securities service would offer new custodial services for asset management firms wishing to create cryptocurrency-based funds. In June, cryptocurrency custodian Metaco announced its partnership with Forge Société Générale to expand its digital asset capabilities.

Overseas cryptocurrency companies also continue to see France as a key blockchain technology hub in Europe. Last week, cryptocurrency platform Crypto.com announced a €150m ($145m) investment in France to support its operations in the country, including establishing a regional base in Paris.

Along with Crypto.com, other foreign cryptocurrency exchanges, including Luno and Binance, have been licensed in France as the country seeks to establish itself as a blockchain technology hub.

Binance announced a €100 million ($97 million) investment in April, calling France “uniquely positioned to lead the industry in Europe”.

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