Category Archives: AMF

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French Regulators May Be Taking Next Step Towards Easing the Path for ICOs

The French government seems to be moving towards regulating ICOs in 2018, according to a recent Autorité des Marchés Financier (AMF) annual report, writes CoinGape.

According to AMF’s report,  ICOs are most definitely on the agenda for further regulatory framework as Robert Ophèle, President of the AMF indicated recently, suggesting that the government body will:

“…continue to reflect on changes in the regulatory framework in the face of new offers, in particular, the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and to promote at European level the French regulator’s approach to innovation.”

The AMF last published an update in February of this year with its analysis of the legal qualification of cryptocurrency derivatives, as well as ICO guidance resulting from a public consultation of the relevant actors on the French market, according to law firm Kramer Levin.

The AMF has now launched a program of research called UNICORN (Universal Node to ICO’s Research & Network) in order to give greater clarity to those involved and to better protect potential investors. The government body has also suggested that more academic research is necessary, although it has rather followed the direction of many governments globally of promoting awareness campaigns to point out the risks of Bitcoin to “unsuspecting” potential investors.

On a positive note, it appears that the AMF has accepted that ICOs may have a productive place within France’s financial structure in the not too distant future. Ophèle said:

“In parallel, considering that certain forms of ICO could in the future constitute an alternative mode of financing for a segment of the economy in connection with blockchain technology, the AMF has launched a program of support and research of ICOs.”

The French press is far more upbeat on the question of coin offerings, recently suggesting that France should become ‘la Capitale des ICO’. The recent AMF suggestions require that best practices should be clear and complied with, also that they could extend the scope of current regulations which treat ICOs as public offerings of securities. Another suggestion is to issue an ICO license based on the regulatory model.

In response to these suggestions, the AMF received 82 responses, most of which chose for the new regulation to be optional, with a specifically tailored framework.

 

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French Regulator Cracks Down on Unauthorized Crypto Platforms

The French independent financial regulator, Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), has issued a warning to the public that unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country are illegal.

AMF is the stock market regulator in France, an independent public body that is responsible for safeguarding investments in financial instruments and in all other savings and investment as well as maintaining orderly financial markets.

According to it, several companies operating without authorization and it has published a list of four transgressors of France’’ current cryptocurrency regulations. Due to recent transparency laws, no investment offer can be marketed in France without approval from the agency.

The websites: bitoraxe.com, solutioncrypto.com, solution-crypto.com, and connect-coin.fr are just four out of 15 that have been recently identified as illegal under French law. Connect-coin.fr has since stopped trading online. Some other websites identified by the AMF, whose role is not just limited to monitoring cryptocurrencies, included one for forex products, one for binary options, and one for other goods including diamonds, wines, and cryptocurrencies.

The AMF as a stock market regulator also handles customer complaints from companies and individuals regarding investment. Recently, it has been increasingly focusing on cryptocurrency issues as digital currency becomes more widely adopted across the country. During the agency’s recent annual report, chairman Robert Ophele commented:

“During the first four months of the year, out of the more than 4,000 requests processed by our Epargne Info-services center, 700 concerned crypto-assets with nearly 250 claims or reports reporting more than EUR 9 million (USD 10.43 million) in losses.”

He added that this is now the most pressing problem that the agency deals with.

France doesn’t expect its legal framework for ICOs to be completed until 2019 and following Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau’s recent comments that new laws are required to cover cryptocurrency exchanges, France is planning to make changes to the current financial law in order to incorporate new technologies, starting with new tax laws governing cryptocurrency announced recently.

 

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Weekly Bitcoin and Blockchain News Roundup: Europe, 12 to 18 March 2018

Europe

13 March 2018

The European Central Bank (ECB) executive board member Benoit Coeure and Bank of International Settlements Markets Committee chair Jacqueline Loh wrote that “Bitcoin has put the spotlight on an old failing of our current system: cross-border retail payments.”, urging current banking and financial systems to improve as the best way to “rise to the Bitcoin challenge”.

14 March 2018

Bloomberg reported that Allianz Global Investors, Europe’s biggest insurer’s investment arm, has dismissed Bitcoin as worthless. It does concede that blockchain technology harbours massive potential for investors.

 

Kranj, Slovenia

13 March 2018

The Slovenian city of Kranj have built what it claims to be the “first blockchain monument” in the world. Placed at a roundabout in the city center, it features the familiar Bitcoin logo which can be viewed overhead.

 

The Hague, Netherlands

13 March 2018

Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra called upon the parliament to warn that current supervision and regulatory frameworks in the Netherlands were still insufficiently equipped. The minister revealed that he would actively work in a European context, but that the approach would require a European and international approach.

 

London, UK

14 March 2018

Coinbase UK received an e-money license from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), effective from 21 March 2018. Essentially, Coinbase customers are now allowed to store their e-money on Coinbase UK accounts, enabling more payment options for them in the UK. The license, however, would not cover cryptocurrency activities.

 

Paris, France

15 March 2018

French regulators Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) published a blacklist of 15 crypto-related France-based companies soliciting investments from the public. These companies contravened the new “Sapin II” Law No. 2016-1691 of 9 December 2016 on “transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernization of economic life”.

16 March 2018

The same AMF will be working together with its government as France aims to create its first guidelines through which enterprises could legally raise venture capital through so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs). Among some of the proposals include a visa issued to companies wishing to conduct ICOs, giving them official government approval.

 

Vilnius, Lithuania

16 March 2018

The Bank of Lithuania put out a call for tender for a proposal for software developers from around the world to assist it with developing its LBChain blockchain platform. It aims to help businesses to trial and implement sophisticated financial tech innovations.

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