The global response to the using of cryptocurrency and a blockchain to raise funds for a startup (or growth within an existing entity) by way of an initial coin offering (ICO) has been mixed. China has banned ICOs outright. Other nations, Canada for example, have decided to take a step back and let the market mature organically.
The latest country to weigh in on the situation is France.
Challenge Magazine, a popular business-focused media outlet in France, just interviewed Robert Ophèle, Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) President, available here (in French). The AMF is the entity that’s charged with regulation of the stock market in France, similar to the SEC in the US or the FCA in the UK and – as a result – its positioning in the future of bitcoin and blockchain regulation is key to development in France and wider Europe.
The interview covered a wide range of topics addressing all areas of the financial economy in France, but at one point the interview asked Ophèle the following question:
“What is the AMF’s view on the development of bitcoin and cryptomony (sic)?”
To-date, the AMF has been relatively quiet on the matter and this is the first time we’ve really had some solid insight into its positioning.
His answer detailed the AMF’s opinion that cryptocurrency can be used for some of the things that the AMF is trying to combat – tax evasion, money laundering or the financing of terrorism. However, he also outlined the potential benefits of France adopting some sort of blockchain system based on the fact that it ” meets more legitimate needs for cash transfers in a fast and cost-free way in the world.”
Ophèle then went on to discuss ICOs.
Here’s what he said:
“The AMF is currently analyzing the legal framework for ICOs (initial coins offering, ed.), which are in the process of developing in France. We want to get a quick position on the issue.”
So it looks as though France is going to be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum as far as regulation is concerned – more hands-on than just sitting back and letting things develop but not as prohibitive as somewhere like China and Russia have proven to be.
Image courtesy of Alejandro via Flickr