Category Archives: Autorité des marchés financiers

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Regulations Push Number of Crypto Ads in France Down 11%

Following France’s decision to ban cryptocurrency advertising and restrict contract for difference (CFD) ads, these two areas have seen their share of the financial advertisement market plummet. CFD refers to a popular form of derivative trading.

France’s financial markets regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) shared the financial advertisement stats from January-September on Friday, revealing that crypto-related ads dropped to just a 12% share in the market compared to a 23% share in Q1 of this year. These ads include that of ICOs, blockchain services, and other related products.

Earlier this year French financial regulators declared that financial products relating to cryptocurrency must legally be defined as derivatives. As well as meaning that they now require regulation, and crypto exchanges require formal authorization to list the ‘derivatives’ and have been barred from advertising them online.

Last year, CFDs and other speculative investment ads, including those relating to cryptocurrency, boasted 50% of the total financial advertisement market, whereas so far this year they have dropped to one quarter.

AMF said that in the wake of the recent cryptocurrency craze, the number of binary options and CFDs offered from forex brokers relating to digital currencies exploded, offering investors contracts that allow them to bet on the rise and fall of crypto prices without investors actually holding the cryptocurrency themselves.

Despite losses in the ad market, French authorities have been aiding the growth of the blockchain industry by cutting the high-band tax rate on profits from 45% to just 19% in April this year. There is an additional contribution added to the social welfare system that pushes the new rate up to nearly ‎‎35%, although this is still a 25% reduction from the original total.

Bitcoin in France is currently classified as ”moveable property,” making it subject to capital gains tax which stands at a flat rate of 19%.

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700 French Savers Targeted By Bogus Exchanges in $35 Million Hype

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French independent stock market regulator in that country, has told French newspaper La Parisienne that 700 savers have fallen foul of a current bout of phone scams in this year alone.

The amount of money lost to the scams is estimated to be around EUR 31 million ($35 million) according to the newspaper report. The scammers have taken to targeting victims via phone, after promising huge investment returns on Bitcoin via ads posted by phony sellers online.

Unfortunately, most of the victims are not crypto-aware, know nothing of the technology, and can only see the possibility of making a fast return on their savings simply too good to pass up, according to the French site Cryptonaute.

Lawyer Hélène Féron-Poloni, who is a specialist in inheritance cases, maintains that most savers have exactly no idea what’s happening when they commit to transferring their funds to “fabulous investments,” often confused by the technical jargon fed to them by the callers.

Marketing Director of Coinhouse, Brian O’Hagan, describe this year’s epidemic as “a plague, we’ve spotted over 200 fraudulent websites,” he commented.

These events, involving scammers either offering high returns for Bitcoin investment or as has been the case in the UK, using celebrities to promote unsound and often illegal deals, are worrying, but the cases of Bitcoin used in major crimes have been proven to be highly exaggerated.

It is undeniable that just like cash, cryptocurrencies are on the radar of criminals but the use of Bitcoin in criminal activity has dropped to 35% of the market share from a peak of 80% when the flagship digital currency was in its infancy.

In the US, a senior member of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies Centre on Sanctions and Illicit Finance recently spoke out against anti-crypto rhetoric, particularly those aimed at the financing of militant jihads, a reason often used by governments as a cause celebre for not advocating the use of cryptocurrencies. He referred to a recent report which found that:

“The use of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups has only involved low-level transactions – their main funding still stems from conventional banking and money remittance services.”

In response to this year’s figures, the Autorite des Marches Financiers has increased its blacklist of dubious exchanges suggesting that they offer “unauthorized operations and atypical investments” warning investors and savers that “no advertising materials should make you overlook the fact that high returns always involve high risk.”

France remains open to cryptocurrency and blockchain projects and the AMF is also gaining sweeping powers to grant licenses to new initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country. The French government is hopeful that with sound legislation and a legal framework, France will be able to continue to attract investors from around the world.

 

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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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