French Lawmaker Calls for Crypto Committee as Legal Questions Loom

A new Senate grouping is needed to educate lawmakers about the risk of crime using virtual assets, the Centrist Union’s Nathalie Goulet told CoinDesk.

AccessTimeIconJul 28, 2022 at 3:13 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:05 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconJul 28, 2022 at 3:13 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:05 p.m. UTC
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The French Senate should set up a new committee to probe crypto assets, lawmaker Nathalie Goulet told CoinDesk Thursday, citing the risk of opaque markets being linked to crime and financial instability.

Senators don’t have the technological know-how to confront topics like the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation recently agreed upon by the European Union – or on the related topic of how to tax the sector, Goulet said.

“I’m not sure that today there are 10 senators who are capable of understanding” crypto policy issues, said Goulet, who sits on the Centrist Union political grouping, which is the Senate’s third-largest.

The text of the motion formally requesting a new committee, published Friday, is heavy on the negatives of the technology. The document says blockchain may support crime because it “permits anonymity and favors opaque trading,” and compares the market to the subprime mortgages that caused the 2008 financial crisis.

Goulet’s concerns arise from her own background in countering terrorist financing – a topic on which she recently penned a book – as well as warnings given by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde.

But despite her skepticism, Goulet told CoinDesk that she is keeping an open mind about innovations with which she and many of her colleagues are largely unfamiliar.

“If it presents a risk to the economy, one must say so,” she said. “If it has an added value to the economy, one must say so, too. But in any case, we can’t stay in the dark on a subject like this.”

Politicians in France are showing rising interest in the crypto world. The country recently awarded regulatory recognition to Binance as part of the country’s wider strategy to set the country up as a crypto hub.

In June, Pierre Person, at the time a lawmaker in France’s National Assembly, penned a report that called for legal recognition of the decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) that underpin innovative finance, alongside a ban on mining that uses fossil fuel power.

Setting up the proposed new committee – which would take evidence from the crypto and banking industry at a series of hearings – is not yet a done deal, and in any case wouldn’t happen until recess is over in October.

In the meantime, Goulet said she will try to persuade her colleagues to take an interest, even though they’re currently focused on more pressing issues like rising consumer prices.

Otherwise, she said, “the legislator will have to make decisions on subjects that it hasn’t mastered. It’s not at all reasonable.”

Editor’s note: Statements in this article have been translated from French.

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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.


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