The country pushes ahead with regulations even as Europe takes a wait-and-see approach.
As part of the proposed “Action Plan for Growth and Transformation of Enterprises (PACTE),” consisting of 71 measures, France has passed Article 26, which creates a legal framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs) within the country.
The new legislation has been progressing since it was first presented in June to the Council of Ministers. Article 26 is intended to provide a regulatory framework for ICOs in order to protect French investors and encourage growth in the sector.
Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, is a supporter of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies and has claimed the legislation will attract some of the best operators to France.
A special commission of the French National Assembly approved Article 26 of the bill on September 12, 2018. The ICO framework defines tokens and requires actors to gain approval to operate from the French financial authority, the Authorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), before raising capital in a token sale.
ICO operators must also ensure investors provide full transparency of relevant ICO and issuer information via published documents. These documents must provide “accurate, clear and non-misleading content [which] helps to understand the risks associated with the offer.”
The framework also guarantees ICOs that have gained AMF approval the right to open conventional bank accounts in order to protect investor funds and facilitate investor services.
In passing the new ICO legislation, France is forging ahead while the European Union (EU) remains reluctant to take regulatory action on the cryptocurrency industry. A meeting of EU representatives on September 11, 2018, concluded cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation could wait, pending a full analysis.
Reports from Reuters this week also quoted Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), as saying the ECB has no plans to issue a central bank digital currency.