France’s Financial Watchdog Proposes ‘Voluntary’ Regulatory Framework for Crypto Firms

Daniel Kuhn
Jul 17, 2019 at 10:30 UTC
Updated Jul 17, 2019 at 13:03 UTC
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The Financial Markets Authority (AMF), France’s top financial organization, plans to release an experimental regulatory framework for crypto firms later this month, according to a Reuters report.

The rules will include capital requirements, tax mandates, and consumer protection protocols – which “crypto-related firms will voluntarily abide by” in exchange for regulatory approval, reports Reuters.

Anne Marechal, executive director for legal affairs at the AMF, called the experimental arrangement a “precursor” for international crypto-specific legislation, rather than the mismatched application of financial regulations written prior to the advent of the asset class.

This is not the first time France has unveiled a “tit for tat” regulatory scheme. In April, the AMF released a requirement for banks to open accounts for crypto firms that “opt in” to being regulated. Part of the PACTE law, crypto exchanges and custodians were also extended the “option” to attain an operating visa.

At the time, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire suggested the European Union follow “the French experience” by using the PACTE guidance to set up a “single regulatory framework” for digital assets in the EU single market.

These relatively unrestrictive legal measures were taken to promote the growth of small and medium-size businesses. While some governments, organizations, or industry leaders call explicitly for self-regulation or no regulation, many believe clearer rules regarding the sale, distribution, trading of cryptocurrencies would stimulate, rather than hamper, the industry.

Frederic Montagnon, the co-founder of LGO, a crypto exchange looking to expand into France, told Reuters, “When you are an entrepreneur, the worst that can happen to you is to set up your business where there is no regulation, to see an adverse regulatory framework later imposed that jeopardizes your whole business.”

Marechal said “several” crypto exchanges, custodians, and hedge funds are in dialogue regarding the regulatory framework with the AMF, which is also set to approve “three or four” ICOs.

Specifics will arise when the watchdog publishes the regulatory guidance.

Paris photo via CoinDesk archives