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News Report

Binance Prepares for French Licensing

2 mins
Updated by James Hydzik

In Brief

  • In a virtual fireside chat, Binance CEO CZ discussed the company's culture and plans in France.
  • Woorton CEO Charlie Meraud interviewed CZ as part of Paris Blockchain Week.
  • The Week also featured an update on the digital euro by the Banque du France.
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Binance CEO CZ stated that the company is preparing to file for a French PSAN license.

At a (remote) fireside chat with Charlie Meraud, CEO of Woorton, he covered a variety of topics, including Binance’s aim to keep in step with French legislation.

Conversational convergence

In their conversation, CZ and Woorton spoke about Binance’s plans for the future. They also covered Binance’s corporate philosophy on several levels. These were combined when they discussed Binance’s operations in Europe and in particular, France. New French legislation requires that companies providing digital asset services licence by December, according to Meraud.

“Binance wants to be fully compliant anywhere we operate. Our European team is working on that,” CZ said.

However, Woorton noted that this is perhaps not straightforward.

“It’s difficult for all the French companies to do it, so I can’t imagine it when you’re coming from abroad.”

PSAN – part of a new beginning

In 2019, the French government began rolling out crypto-related regulation focused on exchanges and other services. Not all specifications, such as required documents, were published initially. However, by April 2020, the regulations were in place to the point that companies could begin to understand how to implement them. 

In an April 2020 paper, DLAPiper explained that Digital Assets Services Providers (DASP), or in French, prestataires de services sur actifs numériques, PSAN, need to be licensed in France. This is the licensing that CZ referred to in his conversation with Woorton. For those with no exposure to French regulation, even the explanations underline Woorton’s comments.

Options, for some

Binance must register as a PSAN. However, there is optional registration for those who meet specific requirements. Digital-only exchanges, for example, can opt to register. Storage, however, lands a company in the mandatory registration category. Companies handling third-party crypto, or providing advisory services, may choose to register as well. Optional registration includes submission of a white paper, which might scare off companies with weakly-written papers.

Will optional registration become popular? It could become a step in gaining legitimacy for some firms, or a complication for others.

The empire speaks back

Also at Paris Blockchain Week, Banque du France First Deputy Governor Denis Beau spoke about the central bank and blockchain. He covered experiments run by Banqu du France that will affect the implementation of the digital euro. Moreover, he pointed to the role of private enterprise in bringing about the digital currency ecosystem. In particular, the private sector drives innovation, in his opinion.

The two events at Pairs Blockchain Week point to a common phenomenon in the blockchain and crypto industry. Innovation drives institutions to act. At the same time, the bureaucracy that to a degree at least caused the problems the innovation solves, continues to apply the brakes.


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