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Digital assets: the AMF amends its policy on DASPs to clarify the transition to "enhanced" DASP registration

Digital assets: the AMF amends its policy on DASPs to clarify the transition to "enhanced" DASP registration

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) is amending its position on the regime governing digital asset service providers (DASPs) to take account of changes resulting from the DDADUE Law, which introduces enhanced DASP registration applicable from 1 January 2024.

The Law of 9 March 2023 (DDADUE) on various provisions for adaptation to European Union law, introduced an "enhanced" registration regime that will be mandatory from 1 January 2024 for new players wishing to provide the four digital asset services subject to mandatory registration (custody, buying/selling for legal tender, trading of digital assets for other digital assets, operation of a trading platform for digital assets). The AMF has updated its Position-Recommendation DOC-2020-07 (Questions and Answers on the DASP regime) to clarify the transitional provisions relating to this new regime.

It should be noted that DASPs that have already obtained "simple" registration before 1 January 2024 benefit from a grandfather clause and will continue to be subject to the registration requirements applicable prior to 1 January 2024.

Transitional provisions for "enhanced" registration

In its updated policy, the AMF sets out the transitional provisions provided for under Article 8 of the DDADUE Law (questions 3.1 and 3.2).

DASPs that file an application for registration before 1 July 2023, which the AMF deems to be complete, will be subject to a "simple" registration procedure. The application is considered complete if all the required documents have been provided, and if the information is accurate and of high quality.

Persons who have not submitted a registration file deemed complete by the AMF by 1 July 2023 must complete and update their file to comply with the provisions of the "enhanced" DASP registration.

It should also be noted that a DASP that has already been registered as a simple DASP applying for an extension to a new service on or after 1 July 2023 will be subject to the provisions of "enhanced" registration for all the services it provides, including those for which it already had simple registration.

Clarification relating to management companies and digital assets

The DASP Q&A also clarifies certain points concerning portfolio asset management companies. A portfolio asset management company may carry on, as an extension to its management activity, an ancillary activity involving digital assets, within the limits of the services that it is otherwise authorised to provide in connection with financial instruments.

A portfolio asset management company may decide, for the purposes of managing its collective investments, to invest in digital assets and place orders to buy, sell or trade digital assets. Such activity does not require mandatory registration for the services of buying or selling digital assets in a currency that is legal tender or trading digital assets for other digital assets.

The circumstances under which a portfolio asset management company may engage in this activity are set out in AMF Position-Recommendation DOC-2012-19 "Guide to preparing the programme of operations for asset management companies and self-managed collective investments".

In addition, the AMF will shortly be amending the provisions of its General Regulation and Instructions DOC-2019-23 (compiling a registration and authorisation file) and DOC-2019-24 (cybersecurity requirements) to incorporate the enhanced registration regime and anticipate the transition to the European Regulation on markets in crypto-assets (MiCA). These changes will need to be taken into account by service providers who have to submit a registration file or complete it in order to move towards "enhanced" registration.