Forge, the subsidiary of Société Générale, France’s third-largest bank, became the first company to obtain the highest access license for providing crypto services in the country — a prerequisite for numerous service activities (PSAN). Now the provider will have a right not only to custody the digital assets but also to purchase and sell them for legal tender and trade against each other.
Local media paid attention to the update in the register of the French stock market regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), on July 19. As the Societe Generale representatives state in their press release:
“Accreditation represents the highest level of regulatory certification currently possible for digital asset transactions.”
So far, around 90 companies have already been on the AMF list of licensed providers. For example, the subsidiary of Societe Generale’s powerful competitor, bank Crédit Agricole, got approval for digital custody in June 2023. However, Forge became the first one to receive the highest approval for numerous services from the regulator. As the French radio station Business FM notes, such stringent requirements for this level of approval give an obvious advantage to large traditional banks over smaller crypto companies.
Societe General has been quite active in the crypto sector, issuing euro bonds on the Ethereum blockchain and security tokens on the Tezos blockchain, and proposing DAI stablecoin loans in exchange for bond tokens. In April 2023, Forge launched EUR CoinVertible, the euro-pegged stablecoin for qualified institutional clients. The new digital asset is only available to investors onboarded by Societe Generale through its existing Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering procedures.
While France remains one of the friendliest European jurisdictions to crypto, the local arm of Binance has been the subject of a preliminary investigation, conducted by the Judicial Investigation Service of Finance under the direction of the specialized interregional jurisdiction of Paris.