Euronext will not enter cryptoasset trading without regulator backing

The Euronext stock exchange is pictured at the La Defense business district in Paris

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) -European stock market operator Euronext does not plan to go into cryptoasset trading without firm backing from its regulators, Chief Executive Stephane Boujnah said on Tuesday.

Once reluctant exchanges are now moving into the crypto space as bitcoin recovers from a crash to hit all-time highs of nearly $74,000 last week, gaining more than 50% this year, as inflows into U.S. listed bitcoin funds surged.

London Stock Exchange Group this month said it plans to accept applications for crypto exchange-traded notes later this year, debt securities that provide professional, but not retail, investors, with exposure to cryptoassets.

Deutsche Boerse in Frankfurt also said this month it had launched a regulated platform for the trading of cryptocurrencies for institutional investors.

But Boujnah indicated he was in no rush to join his European rivals as regulators for Euronext, whose largest trading operations are in Italy, France and the Netherlands, remain lukewarm at best towards crypto.

"We always considered this is an issue we cannot engage without absolute backing from supervisors," he told reporters.

"We've always been very cautious about cryptoassets ... a little for conceptual reasons and a lot because our regulators themselves are extremely so."

Boujnah added that regulators in Rome and Amsterdam were clearly against it, while France’s regulator was very cautious.

"Our regulators don't have the same sense of humour," he quipped.

In his comments, the Euronext boss was referring to the direct business of trading cryptoassets, not to crypto underlyings.

Sixty-eight crypto-backed exchange-traded products(ETPs) are available for professional investors on Euronext, in Amsterdam and Paris, a spokesperson for the exchange said.

An exchange-traded product is a financial security traded on stock exchanges, representing a pool of underlying assets, commodities, or indexes, offering investors exposure to various markets, sectors, or strategies.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain, writing by Inti Landauro and Huw Jones, editing by GV De Clercq and Louise Heavens)