Société Générale, France’s third-largest bank, is set to launch its own stablecoin, EUR CoinVertible, on the Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp. This marks a historic entry for a traditional financial institution into the realm of cryptocurrency trading, particularly within the stablecoin market. As regulatory attention on stablecoins grows, Société Générale aims to offer a stablecoin fully backed by euros, positioning itself as a pivotal player in a market largely dominated by digital asset firms.
Stablecoins, a form of digital currency pegged to traditional fiat currencies, have gained traction among cryptocurrency traders due to their stability and ease of use. The UK has recently proposed regulatory measures to integrate stablecoins into the mainstream economy. While stablecoins linked to the US dollar, such as Tether and Circle, dominate the $130 billion market, Société Générale’s EUR CoinVertible represents a euro-denominated alternative.
Jean-Marc Stenger, CEO of SocGen Forge, the bank’s digital assets unit, highlighted the concentrated nature of the crypto ecosystem on a few existing stablecoins, mostly denominated in US dollars. Stenger expressed confidence in the viability of a euro-denominated stablecoin, emphasising that Société Générale’s offering aims to fill this gap. Unlike stablecoins from other major investment banks, SocGen’s stablecoin will be widely available for trading, broadening its reach beyond institutional clients.
Société Générale envisions its stablecoin extending beyond the trading sphere. Stenger shared the bank’s hopes that EUR CoinVertible would play a role in settling trades involving digital bonds, funds, and various assets as traditional financial institutions delve into digital ledger technologies. The upcoming Mica regulation in the European Union, set to be enforced next year, is a crucial consideration for Société Générale, and Stenger emphasised that their stablecoin is designed to align with these regulations, a rarity in the stablecoin landscape.
The trend of tokenizing assets, including bonds and funds, is gaining momentum among asset managers and banks. In a recent development, the UK Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority granted approval for fund managers to tokenize their funds, provided they include “mainstream” assets. Axa Investment Managers has already invested in a digital green bond using Société Générale’s stablecoin, highlighting the growing acceptance of digital currencies in traditional financial practices.
Stenger addressed potential concerns by assuring that token holders of EUR CoinVertible would face no exposure risk to Sociéte Générale. Indeed, the Société Générale’s stablecoin is backed by euros held in a trust managed by a third party, ensuring direct recourse on the collateral asset of the stablecoin. Stenger emphasised that the stablecoin is open to anyone, facilitating operations on both Société Générale’s platform and other platforms within the financial services ecosystem.
Société Générale is not alone in its stablecoin endeavours. Japanese banks, large and small, are also on track to start issuing stablecoins this year. The Progmat Coin ecosystem is taking shape, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and other key players planning to launch yen- and dollar-pegged stablecoins. This collaborative effort aims to enhance settlement efficiency between crypto asset exchanges, with the XUSD stablecoin specifically designed for cross-border settlements, eliminating delays caused by traditional banking intermediaries.
As Société Générale pioneers the entry of major banks into the stablecoin market, the financial landscape is witnessing a transformative shift. The launch of EUR CoinVertible not only opens new avenues for cryptocurrency trading but also aligns with the evolving regulatory framework. With stablecoins gaining prominence, traditional financial institutions are embracing the digital era, setting the stage for a more inclusive and dynamic financial ecosystem.
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