Binance Launches In-Store Crypto Payment Solution with Ingenico

Adoption of cryptocurrencies and services based on cryptocurrencies is continuing to gain traction, with an increasing number of businesses bridging the gap between conventional financial (TradFi) solutions and decentralized financial (DeFi) solutions.

Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange, and Ingenico, a provider of credit card processing services, jointly announced on February 22 the start of a new pilot program that enables in-store cryptocurrency payments to be made using Binance Pay. At present time, the beta version of this service is only accessible via the Ingenico Axium payment terminals that are located in France.

The statement states that the application is compatible with more than fifty different cryptocurrencies. In the beginning, payments to merchants will be made using a cryptocurrency. However, in the second quarter of 2023, a crypto-to-fiat solution that will enable businesses to accept payments in fiat currency is scheduled to pilot.

Le Carlie and Miss Opéra, two merchants operating in the hotel and retail industries respectively, are coming online as part of the France trial.

The following nations on the agenda for service expansion are going to be more European countries where Binance is a licensed cryptocurrency operator. Binance has been granted authorization to do business in the countries of France, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Cyprus, Poland, and Sweden.

To begin using cryptocurrencies, in-store devices will often need some type of integration before they can be used. On the other hand, the new solution claims that it is a “all-in-one” gadget, which simplifies the onboarding process for both retailers and customers.

Binance Pay and Binance Card’s Head Jonathan Lim referred to the all-in-one gadget as a “new method to approach the market” and said that it would “accelerate access to customers.”

Binance has been working on a variety of global payment options over the course of the last year. It just just formed a partnership with Mastercard to provide a prepaid crypto card in Brazil, after a successful launch of the product in Argentina in August of 2022.

There have also been efforts made by other businesses to bridge the gap between the Web2 and Web3 payment systems. The announcement of the cooperation between Bit2Me and Mastercard to introduce a debit card that delivers bitcoin rewards was made on February 10th.


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Binance Launches Tax Reporting Tool to Help Users Comply with Local regulations

Because the tax season is just around the horizon for many nations, businesses in the cryptocurrency sector will need to be ready to assist their customers in complying with the requirements that are in place in those countries.

The cryptocurrency exchange Binance made the announcement on February 6 that it would be developing a tax reporting tool to assist customers in keeping track of their cryptocurrency transactions for the purposes of filing tax returns.

According to the statement, Binance Tax provides its customers with the ability to receive a tax summary report that details any profits or losses that have taken place in their Binance account during the course of the year. This includes contributions made in cryptocurrency, spot transactions, and fork prizes that are based on blockchain technology.

According to the corporation, this decision was made in response to an increasing number of enquiries received from consumers concerning their respective tax responsibilities.

Currently, France and Canada are participating in the pilot programme for Binance Tax, which will later this year be rolled out to more worldwide areas inside the Binance ecosystem.

At the moment, it can only be used to access data that is stored on platforms owned and operated by Binance; however, the company has said that it intends to grow and eventually interface with other platforms used in the sector.

This follows the announcement made by Binance one month ago on its involvement in an association to ensure compliance with worldwide sanctions.

Over the course of the last year, global authorities have increased the pressure they apply to the cryptocurrency business. This is especially true in the wake of the FTX crisis, which rattled the market.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand recently made an announcement that it intends to tighten up regulations for the cryptocurrency business with a primary emphasis on the safety of investors. Exchanges in inquiries have been targeted for investigation by regulators in both South Korea and the Netherlands for alleged non-compliance with local rules.

The cryptocurrency industry has also caught the attention of regulators in the United States. Compliance issues led to a settlement that needed to be reached between the bitcoin exchange Kraken and the Office of Foreign Assets Control within the Treasury Department.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued a call for companies in December 2022, requesting that they report their exposure to crypto bankruptcy and risks. In the meanwhile, the head of a House committee on crypto innovation has presented a measure that would let businesses can apply to government agencies for what is called a “enforceable compliance agreement.”


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Crypto Giant Binance Obtains First Global Regulatory Approval Operation from French

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, has been approved by the French regulatory agency and operates cryptocurrency transactions legally in France.

France has become the first country that approves Binance to be legally operated in the world and has been listed as a registered digital asset service provider by AMF by the French stock market regulatory engine.

As early as November 12, 2021, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pinpointed France as one of the most advanced European nations with clear governing rules in the crypto ecosystem. This makes the country a natural fit for opening a regional and central headquarter.

Changpeng Zhao pointed out that France uses “very progressive” in the use of cryptocurrencies, he said that:

“In our interactions with them, they are far more advanced in their understanding, and they’re also much more progressive in their attitudes。France is a very strict regulator. But they have the advanced understandings to go with that.”

Binance has cooperated with the French financial technology industry group to invest 100 million euros, which equals $113 million to support the development of the French blockchain industry and cryptocurrency.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Are NFTs an animal to be regulated? A European approach to decentralization, Part 1

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are constantly in the news. NFT platforms are springing up like mushrooms and champions are emerging, such as OpenSea. It is a real platform economy that is emerging, like those in which YouTube or gained a foothold. But it is a very young economy — one that is struggling to understand the legal issues that apply to it.

Regulators are starting to take an interest in the subject, and there is risk of a backlash if the industry does not regulate itself quickly. And, as always, the first blows are expected east of the Atlantic.

In this first article devoted to the legal framework of NFTs, we will focus on the application of the digital asset regime and financial law to NFTs in France. In a second article, we will come back to the issues of liability and copyright.

Related: Nonfungible tokens from a legal perspective

A digital asset?

In France, the definition of digital assets includes two types of tokens. On the one hand are utility tokens, i.e., all intangible assets representing, in digital form, one or more rights, which can be issued, recorded, stored or transferred by means of a shared electronic recording device allowing the owner of the asset in question to be identified, directly or indirectly.

NFTs are intangible assets that can be issued, recorded, retained or transferred through shared electronic records.

On the other hand are payment tokens, i.e., any digital representation of value that is not issued or guaranteed by a central bank or public authority, is not necessarily linked to a legal tender, and does not have the legal status of money, but is accepted by natural and legal persons as a medium of exchange that can be transferred, stored or exchanged electronically.

Is an NFT a digital asset under French law?

An NFT is acquired to obtain a property right, but it can also be acquired to claim the performance of one or more services related to that NFT.

Furthermore, an NFT can be seen as a digital representation of value that is not issued or guaranteed by a central bank or public authority, that is not necessarily linked to a legal tender and does not have the legal status of money, and that can be stored or exchanged by electronic means. It follows that NFTs could be classified as digital assets, either as a token of use, a token of payment, or both.

The consequence of classifying NFTs as digital assets would be twofold.

Registration as a virtual asset service provider

If the platform issuing NFTs implements, in addition to its primary market, a secondary market on which users would benefit from: 1) a digital asset storage service or access to digital assets for the benefit of a third party in order to hold, store or transfer these digital assets, and/or 2) a service of purchase or sale of digital assets in legal tender, and/or 3) a service of exchange of digital assets for other digital assets, and/or 4) the operation of a platform of trading of digital assets, then a compulsory registration as a digital asset service provider with France’s financial regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), is required.

In addition, clients must be identified through a Know Your Customer. Our analysis is supported by the fact that NFTs are referred to as “crypto-assets” by the proposed European regulation, “Markets in Crypto-assets” (MiCA).

Related: How should DeFi be regulated? A European approach to decentralization

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has also issued an opinion on the assimilation of NFTs into “digital assets” in its famous recommendation of October 2021. It states that NFTs are “generally not considered [virtual assets].”

However, like its approach to DeFi, FATF emphasizes that regulators should “consider the nature of the NFT and its function in practice, not the terminology or marketing terms used.” In particular, FATF argues that NFTs that “are used for payment or investment purposes” can be virtual assets.

Related: FATF guidance on virtual assets: NFTs win, DeFi loses, rest remains unchanged

Although the directive does not define “for investment purposes,” FATF likely intends to capture those who purchase NFTs with the intent to resell them later for a profit. While many buyers purchase NFTs because of their connection to the artist or work, a large portion of the industry buys them because of their potential to increase in value. In other words, many NFTs could qualify as digital assets to follow this interpretation.

Application of the ICO regime?

As soon as there is a public offering of digital assets (to more than 150 potential buyers) in France, the French ICO regime applies. The issuer is then subject to the following rules: The “simple” advertising of the token offering is allowed, but any canvassing would be prohibited as well as any “quasi canvassing,” except if the issuer has obtained the AMF visa.

This is a delicate point here because the NFT issuer could not “invite” French residents to register on its site without violating the law. It would then be required to never target “French” groups or communities.

However, we do not believe that the ICO regime is applicable to NFTs, because this regime is designed to regulate a fundraising operation and protect the investor. Certain provisions of the law are incompatible with an NFT offer (i.e., offer limited to 6 months, sequestration of funds during the ICO, etc.).

This is the spirit of the proposed MiCA regulation, which considers NFTs as digital assets by default, but excludes them from certain obligations specific to ICOs (publication and notification of a white paper).

Anti-money laundering obligations and KYC?

We have already noted the risk of qualifying as a virtual asset service provider (VASP), which would entail a KYC obligation (from 1 euro of transaction). In addition, persons acting as intermediaries in the art trade, including when it is carried out by art galleries, when the value of the transaction is equal to or greater than 10,000 euros, are subject to an obligation to apply due diligence measures based on the assessment of the risks presented by their activities in terms of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Related: NFTs and compliance: Why we need to be having this conversation

In short, all NFT platforms, which are linked to digital works of art, should implement KYC procedures even if they do not qualify as digital assets, which today is far from being the case.

In the United States?

We know that the approach in the United States is different than in Europe because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (by applying the famous “Howey Test”) qualifies tokens that would be seen as digital assets in Europe, as securities.

The risk of the SEC classifying tokens as “securities” is therefore significant. The SEC has not yet come to a firm conclusion on the issue, but there have already been suggestions that some NFTs could be qualified as securities, especially when they are sold in a fractional manner.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Thibault Verbiest, an attorney in Paris and Brussels since 1993, is a partner with Metalaw, where he heads the department dedicated to fintech, digital banking and crypto finance. He is the co-author of several books, including the first book on blockchain in French. He acts as an expert with the European Blockchain Observatory and Forum and the World Bank. Thibault is also an entrepreneur, as he co-founded CopyrightCoins and Parabolic Digital. In 2020, he became chairman of the IOUR Foundation, a public utility foundation aimed at promoting the adoption of a new internet, merging TCP/IP and blockchain.