After a year of regulatory hurdles, Binance is spreading its wings to lay ground in new territories. During the previous week, the top cryptocurrency exchange received licensing and approval from regulators in Bahrain and Canada to provide crypto asset related services.
This was following an especially tough year over which the company was banned, or warned by nations around the globe for carrying out unlicensed practices.
Another one of Binance’s international forays has been France, where it is financing a 100 million euro ($113 million) initiative with industry group France FinTech. Labeled ‘Objective Moon,’ the initiative was first announced in March and is aimed at bolstering the country’s crypto and blockchain sector through innovation and education.
To this end, Binance will start a research and development office in France and collaborate on an incubator program for start-ups and training programs.
Binance is soliciting French talent in an effort to make France and Europe a leading global player in the industry, it had noted in its announcement. Highlighting the same, David Princay, Binance’s French GM, told CNBC,
“The aim of Objective Moon is really to develop an ecosystem and to nurture and accelerate an ecosystem. You cannot do it alone.”
The programme will also provide employment opportunities to crypto enthusiasts through its planned R&D hub according to Princay, who said,
“We need to be also able to capture the talent and to have more capabilities to grow bigger. Having an R&D center is one step that we need to go for our next evolution.”
France might have been an optimum location for this huge investment, given its growing fintech industry and relatively welcoming crypto regulations. In fact, its central bank has even toyed around with blockchain technology in the past, making it one of Europe’s largest CBDC trials to date.
However, another contributing factor could be the possibility of Binance pinning down France as its global headquarters after its stateless nature became one of the biggest pain points with regulators worldwide.
While Princay declined to comment on the same, past hints of interest had caught the eyes of regulators. Last month, the governor of France’s central bank said that Binance must have strong anti-money laundering checks in place if it wants to set up operations in the country.
For now, the exchange is in discussion with French regulators on licensing, hoping to get France’s digital minister Cedric O on its side according to the GM.
“Cedric O has been very clear with us, they are welcome to see us and to have us, but they are also very exigent and that’s for the better.”
He also argued that regulatory scrutiny was rather a positive sign for crypto innovation in both France and Europe, adding,
“We need to be fully scrutinized and audited to pass and that’s for the better because when we’re going to pass, it is going to be a sign of trust, compliance.”
The exchange had to close operations in Singapore earlier this month following months of negotiations. Apart from this though, Binance’s extensive efforts towards compliance seem to finally be paying off as it appears to be moving towards a more accepting future.