SocGen issues 10-million-euro digital green bond on a public blockchain

FILE PHOTO: A logo of French bank Societe Generale is seen on the company's skyscraper at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris, France September 14, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Societe Generale, France's third-biggest listed bank, said on Monday it issued its first so-called digital green bond on a public blockchain, as the lender seeks to build expertise in crypto services.

The inaugural transaction amounts to 10 million euros ($10.87 million) worth of senior preferred unsecured bonds with a maturity of 3 years, the bank said.

AXA Investment Managers, the investment arm of France's biggest insurance company AXA and Generali Investments, its equivalent for Italian insurer Generali fully subscribed the related security tokens, through private placement, SocGen said.

Blockchain is a digital ledger that records ownership of tokens. It has not seen widespread adoption but proponents say it has the potential to make trading more efficient and transparent.

So far, blockchain's main use case has been cryptocurrencies. But banks are increasingly investing in developing tokenised securities, also known as security tokens or digital assets. The idea is to create blockchain-based tokens which represent ownership of traditional financial assets such as bonds.

Proceeds from green bonds are aimed to be spent on projects or activities with environmental benefits, such as renewable energy and low carbon transportation.

AXA IM made the investment in the digital green bond by acquiring and then spending 5 million euros worth of SocGen's euro-denominated stablecoin, EUR CoinVertible (EURCV).

SocGen's bond issuance, made on the Ethereum public blockchain, follows the launch last week by the European Investment Bank (EIB) of its second euro-denominated digital bond on a private blockchain, in partnership with Goldman Sachs Bank Europe, Santander and SocGen.

SocGen's digital green bond issuance was made via its crypto unit, Forge.

($1 = 0.9202 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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