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"Kraken wants to position itself on the French market, there is no doubt about it". Although this statement doesn't seem very surprising (the rumor has been swirling for a long time), the fact that it comes from the head of a company that has received a takeover proposal from the American giant gives it substance and, above all, a timeline.
According to our information, the world's third largest exchange platform (behind Binance and Coinbase) is actively looking to buy a company with a digital asset service provider (DASP) registration.
It is this precious sesame that allows the sale of cryptocurrencies to the European public.
Currently, Kraken is accessible to Europeans but the company is formally prohibited from marketing to them (with advertising, for example). Most importantly, the platform will no longer be able to serve them without PSANs from 2025, when MiCA, the European regulation that will regulate the crypto sector, comes into force.
Such a possibility is unthinkable, as Kraken does significant volumes in Europe. "They are even ahead of Binance in Europe. This market is crucial for them," says the head of a French platform approached.
For Kraken, acquiring a PSAN - instead of filing on its own - makes sense for two reasons.
Firstly because such an operation would save time (it currently takes about 8 months to obtain a registration), but above all it would simplify his task because the process of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has been tightened in recent months.
"For a very large platform like Kraken, the examination of the file could take a long time, so buying a PSAN and making it a subsidiary is much more interesting," blows a source close to the file.
This point is also confirmed by William O'Rorke, a partner at ORWL, a law firm specializing in disruptive technologies: "The acquisition of a PSAN does not require a new registration, and the new shareholding must be validated by the AMF. In principle, this does not interrupt the company's activity and is therefore very interesting for the buyer.
Then there is the question of the proposed price...
"They offered us around 50 euros per customer who has filled in his personal information", says an entrepreneur who did not follow up. Clearly, a company with around 20,000 users can expect to sell for around one million euros.
Such an offer may disappoint the managers of the potential targets, but the context is not in their favor. Almost all NSPs are in financial difficulty, especially the youngest players. "There is clearly a market for start-ups in dire straits and the sector is currently full of them", insists one of them.