A mature approach by BlackRock to promoting its new spot ETF with an ad labelling Bitcoin simply as 'progress'.
Leading crypto exchange Gemini has been awarded crypto registration in France as a digital asset service provider (DASP). The company will offer its services and products to customers in France in the coming weeks.
On January 17 2024, the US-based exchange founded and owned by twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss announced that it obtained approval as a virtual asset service provider from the French markets regulator Autorite des marches financiers (AMF).
Overview of Gemini’s Crypto Registration in France
According to exchange services to retail and institutional clients in France, it should be available there in the coming weeks as it completes final preparations to open its platform up to French customers. Once live, Gemini users in France will be able to trade over 70 cryptocurrencies on the exchange’s website and mobile app, Gemini electronic over-the-counter (eOTC) and will get access to its more advanced ActiveTrader platform. This new registration brings the total number of European jurisdictions where Gemini operates to over a dozen. Gemini’s Head of Ireland and European Union, Gillian Lynch, said, “We are delighted to welcome customers based in France onto the Gemini platform in the coming weeks as we further expand access to crypto across Europe.”
Lynch added, “France is a global innovation leader and has a vibrant crypto community, as showcased by the success of Paris Blockchain Week. We are excited to be soon able to provide French customers with compliant and secure access to the future of finance as we continue our mission to unlock the next era of financial, creative and personal freedom.”
According to The Block’s Data Dashboard, Gemini’s entrance into France came as the exchange saw a consistent monthly trading volume increase. In December 2023, $1.58 billion in spot trading volume was brought in, a 26.4% increase compared to previous months.
Why US Crypto Giants are Turning to the European Union
The French approval comes as major US crypto companies are flocking to the EU to expand their operations, primarily driven by a crypto industry crackdown from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including US regulators. Last year, the SEC charged Gemini and crypto lender Genesis with allegedly selling unregistered securities in connection with Gemini Earn, a high-yield savings product. According to reports, the exchange denies its interest-bearing products qualify as securities and seeks to have the lawsuit thrown out.
In 2023, during an EU visit, referencing the EU Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation, Lynch said that “the Gemini founders realised that in Europe, there is both a strong sense of regulatory support for the industry but also much needed regulatory clarity on the horizon with MiCA.”
MiCA is a regulation in EU law that enables crypto companies to hold licenses in one country and can be used as a passport to any EU nation. EU lawmakers approved it last year, and it is hailed as one of the most significant crypto-specific laws globally.
In May 2023, Gemini selected Dublin in Ireland as its European headquarters and has since been forging ahead with its expansion in the European region. Ireland was chosen as a base to grow the firm’s services across Europe and its robust regulatory system. Cameron Winklevoss highlighted that Ireland is the company’s entry point into the EU. Last year, Gemini was not the only US company to expand into the European region; Coinbase, the top US crypto exchange, also selected Ireland as its primary regulatory hub and registered with Ireland’s central bank for a single MiCA license. Recently, the US has taken steps to embrace some elements of crypto trade, and on January 10 2024, the US SEC approved the first-ever spot Bitcoin ETFs. This move was hailed for bringing crypto closer to realms of traditional finance, and so far, ETFs have performed strongly.
In December 2023, French media announced that financial markets regulator AMF was granting Gemini and crypto exchange OKX PSAN (DASP) registration simultaneously. AMF licensing is a separate and optional step. In July 2023, Forge, a subsidiary of French bank Société Générale, was the first firm to receive a PSAN license. The provider was given the right to custody digital assets, sell and purchase them for legal tender, and trade them against each other. It remains the only licensed older listed on the AMF website when this article was written. Stablecoin issuer Circle received conditional registration from the AMF last year as a digital asset service provider and hired Coralie Billmann as head of French operations. To obtain a license, companies must be established in France. Silicon Valley also expanded its crypto and digital assets vertical to France.
The move made by Gemini to obtain cryptocurrency registration in France shows how determined the company is to get into the European jurisdiction, as its regulation on digital assets is evident compared to the United States.