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Coinhouse wins regulatory approval in France

A cryptocurrency trading firm has made history in France by becoming the first such firm to be registered with the major financial regulator in the country.

Coinhouse is now registered with the Financial Markets Authority, or AMF.

According to a spokesperson for Coinhouse, the development came about because the firm was able to demonstrate that it had a stringent “know your customer” policy in place.

“It’s a recognition from the AMF that you’re a serious actor and do some strict [know-your-customer] policy”, Julien Moretto said.

The movement towards encouraging policies around “know your customer”, which is often shortened to KYC, is a way of attempting to reduce money laundering in the crypto world.

Coinhouse had to jump through a number of hoops to secure the approval.

It had to show, for example, that it was able to open up funds if a case of proven crypto scamming occurred.

It also had to prove it had the capacity for asset freezing, while also committing to the use of software and analysis packages.

Coinhouse has also made staffing changes as a result of its determination to get approval.

It hired a compliance controller, for example.

The next step for the firm will be to secure banking services within France.

The advantage for the firm is that it could save money.

It currently banks with a financial institution in Germany, and a move to a French provider could save cash.

According to Sandrine Lebeau, who serves as the director of compliance and risk at Coinhouse, the new development will also have positive effects on the firm’s “brand image” and advertising programmes.

“The registration will soon be mandatory to do buy/sell and custody activities on cryptocurrency in France, but the license will be important for the brand image”, she said.

“The license will give us the right to do commercials and ads about our services”, Lebeau added.

Lebeau was also unusually candid about the effect of the regulation – or lack thereof – on customers.

“I think we improved on security and trust working with the regulator”, Lebeau said.

“I don’t know if the compliance is really consumer friendly, but it improves funds security for sure, which is one of our top priorities.”

France’s record on crypto regulation so far has been strong.

The country passed one of the first packages of cryptocurrency laws in the whole of Europe last year when – in May – it passed the PACTE law.

The PACTE law meant that crypto firms, both crypto to fiat and fiat to crypto, are the only private companies which are forced to sign up with the AMF on the grounds of anti-terrorist or anti-money laundering purposes.

While this law has been reported by some to help ensure that crypto firms are able to access the banking services they need, this has not always happened as smoothly as planned.