Nearly five after opening in Paris, Maison du Bitcoin, which became Coinhouse last year, is launching its first fundraiser. From a physical exchange counter for the purchase and sale of crypto-currencies in a fledgling market with a crypto-active investment platform in the broad sense, the Bitcoin pioneer in France has just raised 2.4 million euros for accelerate its moult. This transaction is led by ConsenSys Ventures, the venture capital arm of blockchain technology consulting specialist, ConsenSys[read[lirethe interview of its founder and principal shareholder, Joseph Lubin].
The other investors are the French fund XAnge (Siparex group) and the New York-based fund Digital Currency Group - already in the capital of US exchange platforms Coinbase and Kraken, or the French publisher of solutions for consortium Stratumn and Legder, manufacturer of a digital safe for private key access to accounts crypto-active, co-founded and led by Eric Larchevêque, also co-founder of ... the House of Bitcoin. The entrepreneur himself participated in the tour de table, as well as his partner Thomas France, as well as the French BTU Protocol (hotel reservations with crypto-active rewards).
The collapse of Bitcoin prices and other "alt coins" last year (-70% approximately) does not seem to have dissuaded these investors, even if it may have weighed on the amount of the ticket and valuation .
"Beyond the upheavals in the cryptos markets, XAnge is convinced that cryptoassets [crypto-actifs] will build year after year a substantial asset class, which will need its specialized "private banks". Coinhouse is positioned to become one of these references in Europe "said Cyril Bertrand, associate director at XAnge, quoted in the statement.
The President of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), Robert Ophele, himself underlined last week that " the bursting of the cryptocurrency bubble should not overshadow the legitimate factors that triggered the development of crypto-active ".
"Coinhouse is convinced that cryptoactives and Blockchain are technological breakthroughs that will revolutionize the way we exchange value and profoundly transform our societies and financial system to make them more efficient and less centralized," said the company in a statement. .
Become an accredited platform
France is preparing to adopt a specific regulatory framework for crypto-active service providers on digital assets In the context of Bill Pact by Bruno Le Maire, passed in first reading in the Assembly on 9 October and whose Senate began the examination on Thursday 17 January. The text (article 26 bis) creates a registration system for these players with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), which checks " respectability and competence »Leaders, and gets the opinion the Prudential Supervisory and Resolution Authority (ACPR, backed by the Banque de France). Coinhouse puts forward this regulatory context and shows the ambition to " become the first fully accredited European crypto-active platform In a universe perceived as a sort of Far-West.
The Paris-based company, which employs around 30 people and claims 150,000 customers all over Europe, will use this money to expand its offering by offering more crypto-active, beyond Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin (there are more than 2,000!), as well asa service of keep »Crypto-active targeting individuals, businesses and investors, which is only the case today for "qualified" investors with its partner Ledger (and its Ledger Vault solution).
Coinhouse intends to apply for several approvals for the third party purchase and resale activity, with the interposition of its own account, for the custody business for third parties and for the crypto to crypto exchange platform activity ( convert bitcoins to ethers for example). This dialogue with the authorities is appreciated by investors.
"Europe is gradually putting in place a favorable framework for the adoption of crypto-assets, promoting the development of Blockchain technology and encouraging legislation. Local stakeholders know their customers well, and with the support of regulatory authorities and banks, we are confident that they have a crucial role to play in fostering adoption by the general public, "commented ConsenSys Ventures head Kavita. Gupta, quoted in the release
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) have recently sent the Commission and the European Parliament their recommendations for a tailor-made framework for crypto-active people, to protect investors, without stifling innovation.
The obstacle of banks
The players in the sector, particularly in France, complain about the obstacles hindering their activity, in particular the limits imposed by banks which refuse that their customers make transfers or use their credit card at Coinhouse and Mastercard which block the means of payment on our site Confided Nicolas Louvet, the general manager of Coinhouse. The Pact Act must create a " a right to the account of last resort "Which would be entrusted to the Caisse des Dépôts, but its managing director Eric Lombard is resolutely against, on the grounds that the Caisse does not manage an account in euros. Members of the Blockchain mission, Laure de la Raudière and Jean-Michel Mis, suggested that this task falls to the Banque de France or La Banque Postale.
The young company intends to present itself as a responsible actor, highlighting its long-standing pedagogical action, its training to businesses and the general public, its treatment of unfortunate issues such as theft of crypto, scams of all kinds, taxation. Now, she wants " build the leading European platform in the field of crypto-assets with a "premium" approach ", Upscale, in a sector where competition is mainly on prices, the amount of commissions.
Few months ago, Eric Larchevêque, had explained in an interview at La Tribune the origin of the House of Bitcoin.
" With my partner Thomas France, co-founder of Ledger, we wanted to open a physical place, very horizontal, where to exchange and explain what Bitcoin was. We chose a name a little outdated to reassure, The Bitcoin House, which opened in the 2nd district of Paris in spring 2014. It was just after the fall of the Mt. Gox platform, everyone said that Bitcoin was officially dead. We wanted to explain that behind these "virtual currencies" - we're talking about "crypto-active" now - there was this Blockchain technology. We conducted this project on our own funds. Our economic model was to bet that something was going to happen! "