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CACEIS Bank, the asset services arm of Crédit Agricole and Santander, has been licensed to hold cryptocurrencies in France, according to the regulator’s website on June 20.
CACEIS claims to be the European leader in asset services, offering services ranging from clearing and fund management to middle office outsourcing to asset managers, insurance companies, brokers, pension funds and real estate funds, among other clients. As a custodian of cryptocurrencies, CACEIS will store users’ private keys, thereby increasing security for institutional clients.
According to the bank’s website, as of December 2021, CACEIS assets in custody were €4.6 trillion ($5.06 trillion) and assets under management were €2.4 trillion ($2.6 trillion).
The French stock market regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), requires companies planning to offer custody services to apply for registration. Other crypto companies, including platforms for trading digital assets, are also subject to registration.
The timing of CACEIS registration allowed the company to avoid the introduction of new, more stringent rules. A new set of rules for digital asset providers in France will come into effect in July, requiring companies to comply with tougher anti-money laundering measures, such as ensuring the segregation of customer funds and providing more detailed information about risks and conflicts of interest.
These new rules do not apply to CACEIS and the 60+ crypto firms registered with the AMF. Companies listed with the AMF will be subject to the European Union’s Crypto Asset Markets (MiCA) legislation, which will take effect next year.
Among the crypto companies registered with the AMF is Binance. According to a report published in the French newspaper Le Monde, Binance’s local arm has been under preliminary investigation since 2022. According to Paris prosecutors, the exchange did not follow Know Your Customer procedures and may have engaged in money laundering.
In recent months, France has tightened the rules for the cryptocurrency business. One of the latest developments is a bill to ban local crypto companies from using influencer marketing. Penalties for not following the law include up to two years in prison and a €300,000 ($328,000) fine, as well as the possibility of an influencer being banned.