• Adan, the cryptoasset industry, the banking sector and the French authorities formed a working group in the summer of 2020, which published its findings on March 25.
  • The group aimed to find constructive solutions to the issues faced by the cryptoasset sector relating to bank account access.
  • Adan is pleased with the progress achieved by this group and thanks the ACPR-AMF Fintech Forum for enabling these discussions.
  • The Association regrets the decision of “the French Banking Federation (FBF) and participating banks” to dissociate themselves from the group’s conclusions and wishes to continue the dialogue with the concerned parties.

Digital asset service providers (DASPs) experience significant difficulties in their interactions with the traditional banking sector. Indeed, access to bank accounts is often prohibited or severely hampered for “crypto-blockchain” companies, despite an evolving regulatory framework in place since 2017 under the supervision of the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) and (Financial Markets Regulator) AMF. To highlight these issues, Adan published an investigative report in October 2020 outlining the banking and financial sector’s rocky relationship and the digital asset industry.

Adan is grateful to the ACPR-AMF Fintech Forum for establishing the “Access to cryptoasset accounts” working group. This initiative brought together the French Treasury, Tracfin, the banking industry, the digital assets industry and consumer representatives. By restoring difficult, sometimes entirely severed communications between these stakeholders, the ACPR-AMF Fintech Forum enabled the working group to establish an accurate inventory of the issues encountered. Thus, we could jointly discuss solutions to improve the understanding of the players’ needs (banking and digital asset actors) and engage in a positive dialogue.

Adan, therefore, welcomes the consistent and productive efforts of the ACPR-AMF Fintech Forum in organising the working group’s discussions and drafting and publishing the final report. On the one hand, this report presents in an objective and detailed manner the problems encountered by cryptoasset companies. On the other hand, it makes recommendations and offers possible solutions for:

  1. improving the business relationship between parties;
  2. clarifying practical arrangements for monitoring digital asset transactions and duties of banks and DASPs, respectively, and;
  3. lifting obstacles encountered by consumers wishing to operate on digital asset markets while guaranteeing their protection.

Combined with answers provided in the working group’s report on AML/CFT rules for the cryptoasset sector published in October 2020, this report’s findings and proposals represent a significant step forward, promoting innovation and dynamism of the French economy.

Nevertheless, after almost a year of open discussions within the group, Adan regrets that mediation of supervision by authorities and the apparent progress made, the French Banking Federation (FBF) and the participating banks wished to distance themselves with the final recommendations of the report (see report annexe). We also find it unfortunate they failed to consider the recent legislative developments that have led to the substantial strengthening of the DASP regime. Finally, we regret the FBF and associated parties did not provide suggestions for improvement while deeming insufficient those proposed in the report.

This unfortunate conclusion confirms the persistent problems that motivated the group’s work and the threats that continue to weigh on the French digital assets industry’s development and competitiveness. We sincerely hope that this working group’s end does not signal the end of the constructive dialogue between the banking and cryptoasset sectors. Positive signals, such as the Lugh launch announcement, jointly supported by Société Générale and French digital asset players, provide evidence that traditional finance understands the interest and urgency of developing a robust national sector. Banks that remain unwilling to work with cryptoasset companies, despite France having one of the most rigid regulatory frameworks in Europe, must understand the risk that such a hostile stance constitutes for the banking and financial sector’s long-term competitiveness as a whole.

Adan remains open to discussion with the FBF and the working group’s participating banks to improve DASP’s access to banking services and lift barriers felt by consumers who buy and sell digital assets. We are delighted to discuss the opportunities for developing a French and European digital asset industry around frameworks that promote innovation while protecting consumers.

About Adan

Adan (Association for the Development of Digital Assets) represents digital assets and blockchain technology professionals in France and Europe. Its members cover a wide range of activities: markets, custody, payments, management, analysis tools, project and user support and IT security. Adan’s mission is to unite the digital asset industry and promote its development in the service of a new digital economy. To this end, the Association has technical and regulatory expertise in digital assets and maintains a close dialogue with public authorities and industry associations.

  • Press contact : Sebastien Couture – [email protected]
  • Website : https://adan.eu/en
  • Twitter : https://twitter.com/adan_asso