Credit Agricole and Santander’s joint-owned entity has registered in France as a provider of digital asset services. The two largest European banks can access the cryptocurrency market thanks to the registration of Caceis, a business that specializes in providing financial services to institutional investors.
The second-largest bank in France, Credit Agricole, and the largest bank in Spain, Santander, both operate an asset servicing company that has registered as a digital asset service provider (DASP) with the French financial markets regulator, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).
The AMF registered the company, Caceis, earlier this week, enabling it to offer custody services for digital assets, including cryptocurrency. The company was in charge of 4.1 trillion euros’ worth ($4.51 trillion) of assets at the end of 2022.
According to a report from Reuters, the action adds a sizable traditional financial services business to the increasing list of cryptocurrency companies registered by the French government. Subsidiaries of other significant participants in the French financial market, such Societe Generale and AXA, are already represented on the DASP list.
The asset management operations of the French cooperative banking organization Caisse d’Epargne and Credit Agricole were combined to become Caceis in 2005. Credit Agricole holds the lion’s share in the company, controlling 69.5%, while Santander holds the remaining 30.5%.
France has been welcoming to the cryptocurrency sector. Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, is one of the organizations it registered as DASPs. Regulators have put pressure on Binance, especially in the US where it is involved in a legal dispute with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The current crackdown in the US, which also hit top US digital asset exchange Coinbase, was invited by French officials in May, who noted that France’s legal system offered better regulatory stability.
According to AMF Secretary General Benoît de Juvigny, “If American players want to benefit, in the very short term, from the French regime, and from the start of 2025 from European arrangements, obviously they are welcome.” He was alluding to the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) guidelines that the EU just ratified and that should be put into effect within the next 18 months, as well as France’s PSAN regulatory framework for cryptocurrency service providers.
Despite the widespread optimism, a press article indicated that Binance’s French subsidiary was recently the subject of an investigation for alleged money laundering and unauthorized provision of services involving digital assets. The company had a “on-site visit” by regulators, according to a spokesman for the exchange, who also made it clear that this is “part of regulatory obligations to which all financial institutions must adhere.”