Binance gets first big European win with France approval

5 May 2022

Image: © photo_gonzo/Stock.adobe.com

After a bumpy ride with regulators last year, Binance has gotten a regulatory nod in France and plans to establish its European HQ in Paris.

France has become the first major European country to give regulatory approval to Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by daily trading volume.

Binance is now listed as a registered digital assets service provider by the country’s financial regulator, the AMF. This will enable it to offer trading and custody services for bitcoin, Ether and other cryptocurrencies on its platform.

Future Human

David Princay, CEO of Binance France, said the regulatory approval is a “key milestone for crypto in Europe”.

It comes after the crypto exchange faced significant challenges last year when regulators around the world cracked down on its business.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority banned Binance from operating in the country in June 2021 and warned the public to be wary of cryptocurrency and digital assets investments.

This was a week after Japan made a similar move and a month later Italy joined in, saying Binance was not authorised to provide investment services and activities in the country.

European HQ

While it was originally founded in China in 2017 by CEO Changpeng Zhao, China has been cracking down on the crypto industry in recent years with strict regulations.

Binance has since moved its business around and it is not clear where the company is headquartered now.

According to CNBC, Binance is supervised in Lithuania by the country’s anti-money laundering regulators and is also seeking registration in Sweden.

Zhao recently said he has plans to establish a European headquarters for Binance in Paris. At an event last month in France, he also announced a new accelerator programme for Web3 start-ups in the country, which he described as “very progressive and very welcoming towards cryptocurrencies”.

“In our interactions with them, they are far more advanced in their understanding, and they’re also much more progressive in their attitudes,” he told CNBC. “France is a very strict regulator. But they have the advanced understandings to go with that.”

Ireland was one of the countries said to be in the running for a new Binance European HQ. It has already registered a number of Irish companies.

In March, Binance announced it was reopening euro and British pound transfers via SEPA and FPS after temporarily suspending them last year. It also limited services last month for Russian nationals following EU sanctions.

News of Binance’s big win in Europe comes as crypto may be getting a boost across the Atlantic as well. The governor of California signed an executive order on crypto yesterday (4 May), aligning the state with proposals put forward by US presdient Joe Biden earlier this year.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com