French bank Societe Generale has become the first company in France to obtain a license for crypto services, as a growing number of mainstream financial companies embrace crypto globally this year.

Societe Generale's crypto unit, Forge, is licensed as of Tuesday to offer services, including crypto custody, trading and sales, according to the website of France's AMF market regulator. The news was first reported by crypto outlet CoinDesk.

A slew of crypto firms, including the world's biggest exchange Binance, have already registered with the AMF. Licensed firms, however, are subject to more onerous rules in areas including corporate governance, IT and compliance.

Crypto markets have rallied in 2023, spurred by growing interest in the volatile asset class by major U.S. financial firms including BlackRock and Fidelity.

Top token bitcoin last week hit $31,818, its highest for a year, and is up more than 80% in price so far in 2023. However, the asset remains less than half its all-time high of $69,000. (Reporting by Tom Wilson in London; Editing by Sharon Singleton)