Circle looks to expand globally with new European HQ

Hand holding golden Bitcoin against flags of France and European Union
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Global financial technology firm Circle has announced receipt of a conditional registration as a Digital Asset Service Provider (‘DASP) with the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF).

Circle, issuer of the USDC and EURC stablecoins – the former of which is pegged to the US dollar – announced it had applied to become a digital and crypto asset service provider in France earlier this year, and these recent developments in its application are positive.

However in order to begin operations in France, Circle must obtain an approval as a payment services provider (PSP) or a registration as an agent of a PSP. 

This condition will be met with the obtaining of an Electronic Money Institution licence which the firm has applied for. These French developments follow a year of global expansion for the firm. In December, Brazilian Neobank, Nubank enabled Circle’s USDC usage and earlier in the year the firm received its Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). 

However, making Paris its European headquarters could prove to be Circle’s toughest challenge yet, due to the rigorous standards set out by the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR). 

Coralie Billmann has been chosen to lead Circle in this new European venture. Billmann contributed to launch the payments activity of 3S Money Club in Europe, a licensed Electronic Money Institution as well as working with J.P. Morgan in Paris. 

Jeremy Allaire, Co-founder, CEO and Chairman at Circle, said: “For over a decade, Circle has embraced a regulatory-first approach in advancing the use of blockchain technology and full-reserve payment stablecoins to empower businesses, promote financial inclusion and drive internet-speed global payments. The issuance of this conditional DASP registration in France marks a significant early milestone as we work towards establishing our European regulatory platform

“With Coralie Billmann joining Circle, her deep market expertise and leadership will be instrumental in furthering our regulatory efforts and deepening our connections in France.” 

With a regional headquarters in France, Circle will hope to have its European operations brought under comprehensive EU oversight with both a full DASP and Electronic Money Institution licence. 

The firm will also aim to bring its products and services into compliance with the forthcoming Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regime, providing a base for growth in the European crypto sector.

Dante Disparte, Circle’s Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy, added: “The selection of France as our European regulatory base builds on the country’s clear rules for responsible innovation in fintech and digital assets, while leveraging France’s dynamic entrepreneurial, technological, banking and financial services ecosystem.”