France has been at the center of financial innovation, playing an essential role in the development of the equity and bond markets in the 1990s. During the First World War, French equity markets accounted for 16% of the world’s equity market capitalization.
Today, France is among the biggest e-commerce markets in Europe, and the market has been growing at double-digit rates, characterized by a healthy pace of economic growth in recent years. The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the expansion of the digital payment landscape as many have turned to online shopping and are incentivized to transact digitally due to fears of infection through personal contact.
The share of crypto consumers using crypto assets as a mode of payment in 2020 has increased considerably, with more than 4%-6% of French citizens owning crypto-assets according to published reports. The reasons for this are two-fold, first, quantitative easing by central banks has caused retail inflation worldwide, and second, as people find themselves locked in their homes, they have warmed up to new types of financial instruments and assets as a means of increasing not only their knowledge but also income.
The French economy is ready for the penetration of crypto-assets and digital tokens in its everyday life as it embarks on this new era of digital wave equipped with the right mix of regulations and compliance flexibilities offered to corporations and startups by the French government.
Insider Monkey: What strategy does Crypto.com have in terms of expanding its operations in the EU (European Union)?
Eric Anziani: Crypto.com has seen substantial growth in Europe and we are focused on expanding our reach as we seek to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency. Crypto.com’s card offerings have become the most widely available crypto card in the world with offers in Asia, the EU, the UK, and the United States. Crypto.com’s Visa card was among the first on the market since it was unveiled in Singapore in 2018 and has become the most commonly available crypto card in the world. Many consumers hold the card and enjoy a range of benefits including up to 5% cashback depending on your card tier; comprehensive range of fiat currency top-up options, including SEPA or the Single Euro Payments Area; full rebates available for Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime.
We also continue to expand the ecosystem powered by the CRO token and our suite of products Crypto Earn, where you can earn up to 8% on deposited cryptocurrencies; Crypto Credit, where you can get an instant loan based on your crypto assets; and Crypto.com Exchange which provides deep liquidity, low fees and best execution prices.
And we do all of this with a relentless focus on our consumers so that we can keep delivering quality products and services that improve their lives. Staying close to our community is important to us and we are very grateful for the support from our very engaged community. In addition to social media channels, our outreach includes Crypto.com University and Research where we regularly publish articles to help decrypt the world of crypto and unpack the latest developments in the space. For example, we worked with The Economist on a piece about the general public’s behaviors and opinions around digital payments and most recently, Boston Consulting Group on a piece about decentralised finance.
Insider Monkey: To which country is Crypto.com expanding its operations first? How is the company going to on-board customers in France?
Eric Anziani: Crypto.com has recently launched the French version of the Crypto.com App and Crypto.com Exchange, accompanied by the local telegram community in the French language for additional customer support. The French version of the app is the first in a series of more local language roll-outs.
Why are we doing this? Humans are social beings and language plays an essential role in our communication. Crypto.com is a global company but we believe that going local will create an enhanced user experience for our customers. It is not just about personalizing language but also about understanding the cultural identity of our customers so that we can cater better to their needs.
Insider Monkey: How Big is the French Market in terms of trading volume, consumer internet, and market capitalization?
Eric Anziani: When talking about digital payments, card payment in France is enormous, making up for 53.9 percent of transactions. Online card usage is also projected to increase by 15.8 percent in 2021. Thus, we find that Crypto.com’s Visa cards have huge growth potential in France as the customers are already warmed up to digital payments, especially since our cards play a vital role in bridging the gap between crypto and fiat currency. In addition, we also put significant focus on a user-friendly interface where the Crypto.com App acts as a single hub to manage all of the crypto’s financial needs. With the crypto.com interface, when cards are paired with the application, customers can buy, sell, pay with, and earn crypto and get an instant loan based on collateralized funds.
On the other hand, the crypto payment market is still in its infancy in France but is maturing at an accelerated pace due to political and economic developments worldwide. We do see that a number of top French labels are ready to receive cryptocurrencies. Amongst these leading brands which might embrace Bitcoin in France are several large label names, such as Sephora, Foot Locker, Decathlon, Cultura, Intersport, Norauto, Maison du Monde, Conforama, and Boulanger. For most of these firms, this is not their first effort to increase the popularity of Bitcoin in France. Therefore, alongside our crypto card operation, we continue to mature the company’s crypto payment solution for online merchants powered by our native blockchain – Crypto.com Pay. Recently we announced that Crypto.com Pay now accepts CRO payments from any ERC-20 wallet. There are an estimated 30 million+ ERC-20 wallets, which represent a massive potential market for merchants seeking to attract crypto users globally.
Insider Monkey: What is the current regulatory landscape regarding crypto-assets and trading in France?
Eric Anziani: The French government has adopted a soft-touch approach regarding crypto-assets in France. French Parliament passed the Pacte Act (Sales Regulations), which opened a flood of technological innovation in digital assets and blockchain. Effectively, France has helped create a much more flexible legal framework for crowdfunding, public listing and capital investment . With its current context, the Action Plan streamlines processes for service providers of digital assets operating in France.
Regulatory authorities have not yet come up with digital currency-specific legislation, and they continue to caution against the risks associated with speculation. However lawmakers appear likely to accept Bitcoin. And with so many retailers prepared to accept payments in Bitcoin, we see an underlying change in the digital payments landscape in France.