After a year of heavy regulatory scrutiny by regulators, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, could be on the hunt for new headquarters in France. They are financing a $113 million (100 million euro) initiative together with France Fintech to support the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector in France.
The initiative called Objective Moon was announced in early November. Binance will create a development and research office in France, while nurturing start-ups and training programs.
Another French crypto hardware firm in France called Ledger and edtech company OpenClassrooms are involved in Objective Moon, developing educational programs. The growing fintech scene in France has proved a fertile ground for the initiative. Additionally, the fintech investments in the country have grown exponentially this year according to data from Dealroom, there have been great fundings for Qonto and Lydia.
Binance Considers Official Base Change
Binance has been on shaky ground all year, with regulators globally putting the exchange under intense scrutiny. Among them was an investigation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a ban by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. The exchange also closed its trading platform in Singapore, further halting all trade of its digital stock tokens.
The CEO Changpeng Zhao has talked about their willingness to cooperate with regulators. Although they have roots in China, they are looking to explore other regions while leaning into decentralization associated with the crypto industry. The CEO has expressed interest in France as an official base of operations.
Binance French GM, David Princay 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. We need to be also able to capture the talent and to have more capabilities to grow bigger.” He added that opening and having an R&D office is one of the steps that they need for their next evolution.
Working with France Regulators
Binance’s move into France has been met by the watchful eye of the central bank. The governor of the Central Bank of France has said that if Binance is to set up operations in the country, they must have strong anti-money laundering checks in place. Princay said that they are ready to undergo evaluation and auditing, to be a sign of trust to the country’s regulators if they pass. He added that they have ongoing discussions with the regulators on licensing.
The EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation, approved by the European Council recently, is the next big challenge for Binance. The EU aims to expand the licensing and passporting for crypto firms in the bloc and introduce greater investor protection.