Crédit Agricole and Santander, two prominent banking giants, have successfully registered their joint subsidiary as a digital asset service provider in France. The registration of Caceis, a specialized company catering to institutional investors with financial services, now enables these major European banks to enter the cryptocurrency market.
Caceis, a business providing asset servicing and jointly owned by Crédit Agricole, the second-largest bank in France, and Santander, the largest bank in Spain, has obtained registration from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French financial markets authority, as a digital asset service provider (DASP).
The AMF recently granted the registration, allowing Caceis to offer custody services for digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. As of the end of 2022, the company had approximately 4.1 trillion euros ($4.51 trillion) in assets under custody.
This development highlights the addition of a significant traditional financial services group to the expanding list of crypto companies registered under the supervision of the French watchdog, as reported by Reuters. The DASP list already includes subsidiaries of other major players in the French financial market, such as Societe Generale and AXA.
Caceis was established in 2005 through the merger of the asset management activities of Crédit Agricole and Caisse d’Epargne, a French cooperative banking group. Crédit Agricole holds a majority stake of 69.5%, while Santander owns a 30.5% stake in the company.
France has demonstrated its openness to the crypto industry by registering several companies as DASPs, including Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. Binance has faced regulatory pressure, particularly in the United States, where it is engaged in a legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In May, French authorities extended an invitation to crypto companies seeking to evade the current crackdown in the U.S., which also affected leading U.S. digital asset exchange Coinbase. They emphasized that France’s legal framework provides greater regulatory certainty.
AMF Secretary General Benoît de Juvigny stated, “If American players want to benefit, in the very short term, from the French regime and, starting in 2025, from European arrangements, clearly they are welcome.” He referred to France’s regulatory regime for crypto service providers known as PSAN and the EU’s recently adopted Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) rules, set to be implemented within the next 18 months.
Despite the generally positive attitude toward the crypto industry, a recent press report revealed that Binance’s French entity is currently under investigation for suspected money laundering and the illegal provision of digital asset services. In response, a spokesperson for the exchange clarified that the regulatory visit was part of their obligations as a financial institution.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about crypto custody
What is the significance of Crédit Agricole and Santander obtaining French registration as a crypto service provider?
The registration of their subsidiary, Caceis, as a digital asset service provider in France allows Crédit Agricole and Santander to offer custody services for digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. This move enables these major banks to tap into the growing crypto market and cater to institutional investors seeking secure storage solutions for their digital assets.
How does Caceis fit into the overall landscape of crypto companies in France?
Caceis, established in 2005 through the merger of Crédit Agricole and Caisse d’Epargne’s asset management activities, is now registered as a digital asset service provider (DASP) in France. This places Caceis among the growing number of crypto companies registered under the supervision of the French financial markets authority, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). Other major players in the French financial market, such as Societe Generale and AXA, also have subsidiaries on the DASP list.
What are the benefits of France’s regulatory framework for crypto service providers?
France has shown openness to the crypto industry by providing regulatory certainty through its legal framework for crypto service providers known as PSAN (Prestataire de Services sur Actifs Numériques). This framework offers a favorable environment for companies operating in the crypto space, attracting both domestic and international players. Additionally, the European Union’s recently adopted Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) rules, which will be implemented within the next 18 months, further enhance regulatory arrangements for crypto service providers operating in France.
Will other major banks follow suit and seek French registration as crypto service providers?
While it is difficult to predict the actions of other banks, the successful registration of Caceis, co-owned by Crédit Agricole and Santander, may inspire other major banks to explore the possibility of obtaining French registration as crypto service providers. The growing acceptance and regulatory support for the crypto industry in France, along with the potential for tapping into the expanding market, could incentivize other banks to enter this space and offer crypto custody services to meet the evolving needs of institutional investors.
More about crypto custody
- Crédit Agricole
- Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)
- Societe Generale
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) rules