The shutdown of three American banking establishments, Silvergate Capital, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, which were playing with the crypto industry will not have been without consequences. Not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom where banks are even more reluctant to accept companies in the sector as clients.
UK banks reluctant to crypto companies
Indeed, according to an article by Bloomberg, these honorable institutions would be more and more demanding as to the conditions required. The testimonies collected by the media report even more tedious paperwork, freezing of accounts or outright rejection of applications. London-based SavingBlocks, attesting in particular to seven refusals out of nine requests, is also considering leaving for more lenient skies. Not very far, just across the Channel.
We are looking for licenses in France where we think it will be easier.
Edouard Daunizeau, founder of SavingBlocks, quoted in Bloomberg
Rightly or wrongly, because fluidity is not yet what best characterizes crypto-banking relations within France. But the prospect of entry into force of the regulation MiCA, which is due for final approval this month, and which at least has the merit of laying down a clearer regulatory framework for crypto players within the European Union, makes France a more welcoming destination.
A snowball effect no doubt. Behemoths of the sector having already anchored there, like Binance or Crypto.com, or seriously considering it like Circle, the co-issuer of the USDC, which seeks to establish itself there to shine afterwards in all the Member States. Coinbase, the other issuer of the stablecoin, recognizes by the voice of its vice-president Duff-Gordon, that “the British banking reaction was more acute than that of the EU” precisely because of a legislative vagueness perceived as more perilous.
The United Kingdom loses its attractiveness in favor of a France perceived as more hospitable
Note that if the British banking vise seems to be tightening for crypto companies which have needed to find access and exit ramps to fiat currencies to exist, individuals do not escape the mistrust of banking institutions in the United Kingdom. Recently again, the National Westminster Bank has imposed drastic restrictions on its customers in this area. And she’s not the only one. Barclays had already done so, the pompom returning to HSBC which, not content with prohibiting its customers from interacting with cryptos, had extended its ax to the purchase of shares of MicroStrategy to cash largely (over)exposed to bitcoin.
In such a context, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ambition to make the country a “global hub for crypto assets”, with measures still very recently adopted such as tax exemption for foreign investorslooks pretty bad. At least, temporarily.
Like what in the crypto field, you should never swear to anything or prejudge the future too much. That France becomes, even if it is by default, an international crypto pole, many, until recently, would not have bet a kopek on this prospect. Moreover, recent news, particularly concerning the status of crypto influencers, shows that there is still a lot of progress to be made for our parliamentarians and political leaders to be up to the challenges of a France shining in the firmament of an industry that drives economic growth.