Files that crypto players must register with AMF distort

While Binance has just received its registration with AMF, about forty files are also being examined, some of which are at very advanced stages.

Cryptocurrency giant Binance has just got the precious sesame in France this Wednesday. It is now registered as a PSAN (digital asset service provider) by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). A long journey while the group had submitted its case in December 2020. But it is far from the only group that has to wait. New crypto players are thus preparing to be registered as PSAN, a status that allows them to provide crypto services in France. At present, around forty cases are being investigated, “some are very advanced and others have just been filed”, explains BFM Crypto Stéphane Pontoizeau, Director of Supervision of Intermediaries and Infrastructure, to AMF.

Some will “probably” be signed up within the next month, others will have to wait several months. The time to obtain registration varies greatly depending on the actor’s level of preparation, from 6 months to more than a year.

As a reminder, for a French or foreign crypto company wishing to provide its services in France today, there is a choice between two options: mandatory registration or optional approval, issued by AMF under the 2019 Pact Act. Registration is mandatory in four areas, especially for players offering depository services or for buying / selling cryptocurrencies.

37 PSAN registered in France

To date, AMF has received about 80 applications, of which 37 (with Binance) have obtained registration and about ten have not been approved.

“We did not formulate a formal refusal, but some actors gave up on their own when they realized that the requirements were too high in relation to the resources they had available, or suspended their registration request until their LCB-FT systems were leveled. “Measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, editor’s note) and subsequently present a more solid dossier. Finally, a few cases were rejected due to problems with good reputation or competence of the leaders”, explains a member of AMF.

In addition, no PSAN has received approval in France, “because it is a significant step for the actors,” clarifies Stéphane Pontoizeau. This status includes requirements regarding investor protection and financial robustness (capital requirements) as well as provisions regarding information system security.

While France has been dependent on these entities for several years, Europe could impose mandatory and non-optional approval with its Mica rules (“Markets in Crypto-Assets”, which are currently being discussed between the various European authorities). The requirements of this European approval may be close to the optional French approval. “Some players may prefer to wait to comply with Mica, which should take effect in 2024-2025,” says Stéphane Pontoizeau. Some players may request this optional approval, seeing it as a first step towards Mica.

Have a European passport

European rules will allow operators to benefit from a European passport, whereas operators currently operate on a case-by-case basis in the countries where they have obtained registrations or licenses. On Tuesday, Belgium adopted a new framework aimed at regulating digital service providers and proposes a registration approaching the French PSAN.

“It is important that the crypto-ecosystem is actively preparing for this European Mica regulation, which represents a very important step to take. Some actors, without having obtained the optional authorization provided for in the Pact, are already going beyond the requirements of in connection with compulsory registration, the recruited compliance officers from traditional finances “, clarifies the member of AMF. In particular, the latter clarifies that once the European regulation enters into force, players who have not obtained Mica approval will no longer be able to operate. “It’s a very important issue. It’s a matter of preparation, of internal or external resources in relation to legal competencies.”

It is therefore understandable why many associations, including the Association for the Development of Digital Assets (Adan), warn against certain points in the Mica regulations as being a brake on the ecosystem.

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