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French Lawmakers Agree to Effectively Ban Crypto Influencer Promotions

French Lawmakers Agree to Effectively Ban Crypto Influencer Promotions

French Lawmakers Agree to Effectively Ban Crypto Influencer Promotions

Social-media stars couldn't tout unlicensed crypto products under a plan voted on by the National Assembly’s Economics Committee.

Social-media stars couldn't tout unlicensed crypto products under a plan voted on by the National Assembly’s Economics Committee.

Social-media stars couldn't tout unlicensed crypto products under a plan voted on by the National Assembly’s Economics Committee.

AccessTimeIconMar 22, 2023, 2:59 PM
Updated Mar 22, 2023, 3:32 PM
A bill to prevent social-media influencers from promoting cryptocurrencies is in the works in France's National Assembly. (Antoine Gyori/AGP/Corbis via Getty Images)

French social-media influencers wouldn’t be allowed to hawk unlicensed crypto products under a plan voted on by lawmakers on a key legislative committee Wednesday.

The National Assembly’s Economics Committee voted in favor of a law designed to stop unsafe products or outright scams from being promoted by well-known personalities on sites such as Instagram and YouTube.

The committee agreed to an amendment to forbid online influencers from directly or indirectly promoting crypto-asset services from unlicensed providers. Proposed by Stéphane Vojetta of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling Renaissance party and opposition socialist Arthur Delaporte, the proposed law would put digital assets in the same category as risky financial products, gambling and pharmaceuticals.

Since in practice no crypto companies are licensed by the French Financial Markets Authority, the measure amounts to an effective ban on influencer promotions, with violators facing two years in jail and a fine of 30,000 euros ($32,300).

Delaporte told the committee it is time to “act, in this period marked by political problems, to regulate a place where politicians have for too long been uninterested” – referring to a turbulent week in French politics with widespread unrest over a pension reform and with Macron’s government narrowly surviving a vote of confidence.

“It’s not about killing liberty, it’s about valuing the work” of influencers, Delaporte said.

If the law is agreed to by the Assembly and Senate, France would join countries such as the U.K. and Belgium in seeking to tighten promotion of crypto products. Last year, reality TV star Kim Kardashian settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for hyping EthereumMax without disclosing that she had been paid to promote the token.

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