Category Archives: Bruno Le Maire

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French Finance Minster’s Gallic Crypto Passion

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire in a meeting with French entrepreneurs has declared that he plans to support the crypto space, according to Bitcoin.fr.

The breakfast meeting included Blockchain Partner’s co-founder and president of Chaintech, Alex Stachtchenko, to whom Le Maire committed his “total and determined support” for the cryptocurrency industry. Stachtchenko reported the finance minister’s opening comments to the meeting:

“I was a neophyte a year ago, but now I’m passionate. It took me a year. Let us show a lot of pedagogy with our fellow citizens to make France the first place of blockchain & crypto-active innovation in Europe.”

This being the case, this positioning regarding the industry marks a significant change in government thinking, which to date has been wary of cryptocurrency, although Le Maire himself has made comments recently which suggest a proactive stance in the space.

Prior to the Buenos Aires G20 summit earlier this year, the minister suggested that France should become “actors” rather than “spectators” although he clarified that the government should still be wary of speculation, security issues and criminal activities such as money laundering. In March this year, he suggested that blockchain technology would offer startups the option to “…create a network of trust without intermediaries… and offer increased traceability of transactions”, generating a climate for a more efficient French economy.

At the recent meeting, Le Maire and Stachtchenko discussed how to address current issues regarding banks, which they felt damaged competitiveness, due to denying accounts to blockchain companies. The minister agreed to take take the issue up with the French Central Bank, suggesting it was far better to do business with stable banks in France than risk investing overseas.

They further discussed taxation, where the potential of exempting crypto-crypto exchanges from taxation was suggested. Le Maire’s position was that cryptocurrency should be taxed once it was sold for fiat and transferred to a bank account. He also suggested that ICOs needed to be “professionalized” and evaluated by an independent agency, in order to create a secure environment in which the public could trade and invest.

“You have with me a total and determined support to change things,” concluded the Finance Minister, “to ensure that we take advantage of the momentum in order to remove the most obstacles to the development of the French ‘crypto’ ecosystem.”

It appears that with Le Maire in charge of finance, the French government is clearly keen to move discussions and regulation on at a pace. Both France and Germany seem to be in agreement on cryptocurrency issues, both advocating moves towards a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. German banks have made it quite clear that effective regulation of virtual currencies is an international imperative.

 

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Regulation and Innovation, a Crypto Future in France

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire recently described cryptocurrency as a “revolution”; income tax on crypto has been axed  by the French government, and former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, now IMF head, described future international digital currency regulation as “inevitable”.

Lagarde even expressed interest in the creation of an IMF cryptocurrency last year, after comments she made about the benefits of weaker economies having their own digital currencies.

With such apparent Gallic positivity, where then, is France at this moment in time in its journey down the blockchain and crypto trail, and what lies ahead in the future?

A recent report in Coin Telegraph suggests that France is in a good position for more leadership in the crypto industry, providing that clarification of current rules is established and new legislation is brought to bear.

According to Jonathan Klein, president at Tresorio, a French-based blockchain mining and trading company, Emmanuel Macron was ahead of his peers launching discussions within France with other members of the crypto community even before his election as president. In 2017, Macron, as minister of the economy, passed a bill authorizing what could become a blockchain mini market. Klein also suggests that as a former banker and technophile, Macron could be at the forefront of driving cryptocurrency in France.

Likewise, Le Maire’s comments in Buenos Aires earlier this year, saying that “France will not miss the blockchain revolution” indicates that there is genuine interest at the highest level to continue to develop and regulate the space to promote, rather than curb, the new technology.

Clearly, the French government has not been static on the subject of regulation. In recent months a decree was published by the government related to the possibility of transferring financial securities through a blockchain. A government cryptocurrency working group was formed and new tax guidelines governing cryptocurrency were formulated.

ICOs have also been under the microscope. William O’Rorke, legal advisor at Blockchain Partner, explains:

“France is about to introduce a completely novel framework for ICOs: a voluntary visa system that incorporates much of the ‘best practices’ advocated for by the French crypto-industry. ICOs that comply with these best practices will thus be able to apply for official approval by the regulator.”

He continues, “As of today, simple things like opening a bank account can prove difficult for crypto-projects.” O’Rorke argues that the visa system will enable ICOs to interact simply with institutions such as banks who elsewhere might be overprotective to towards the client in case of cryptocurrency transactions, such as in the US.

France has recently been described as one of the most forward-looking governments in Europe. The French government’s latest announcement, to lower the tax rate for gains generated by cryptocurrencies, seems to indicate that France has set its path towards adapting to what lies ahead in the coming years, as it moves towards finding the right regulatory processes for the country’s crypto future.

 

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French CryptoCurrency Plan Unclear but Optimistic

French minister of finance and economics, Bruno Le Maire, has made comments recently which appear to extol the merits of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies as being revolutionary.

Le Maire suggested that blockchain technology would offer startups the option to “…create a network of trust without intermediaries…and offer increased traceability of transactions” generating a climate for a more efficient French economy.

The minister suggested that France should become “actors” rather than “spectators” although he clarified that the government should still be wary of speculation, security issues and criminal activities such as money laundering.

French comments were made prior to the recent G20 summit this month in which there was at least some agreement on cryptocurrencies regarding the need for regulation. France and Germany are in agreement, both advocating moves towards a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. German banks have made it quite clear that effective regulation of virtual currencies is an international imperative.

Some French enthusiasm for cryptocurrency at a governmental level can be due in part to French National Assembly member Laure de La Raudiere, a Republican who represents the Eure-et -Loir region of France. As part of another investigation into the use of blockchain technology, she was asked to lead The National Assembly’s Mission d’information in order to inform legislators on how the technology should be used and regulated. La Raudiere’s is scheduled to take six months to complete this prior to the G20’s next meeting where cryptocurrency regulation will return to the agenda.

Less vague, and certainly more optimistic, comments were recently made by Raudiere when she suggested that recent legislative amendments attempting to ban peer-to-peer technology revealed a “total misunderstanding” of the nature of the technology, pointing out that most of the time it was the way technology was used, not the technology itself that required restrictions.

 

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French Finance Minister Calls For ICO Regulations To Attract Crypto Startups

In a recent op-ed for French news website Numerama, France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire outlined his ambitions to create a legal framework that would regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) founded in France.

In his piece for Numerama, Le Maire emphasized his intent in establishing France as the first major financial center to provide ad hoc legislative framework for companies holding ICOs. The minister stated that former central bank official Jean-Pierre Landau was entrusted in drafting the legislation that would be debated in the French parliament. The final legislative proposal gives the market regulators in France, the Autorité des marches financiers, the ability to authorize fundraising through ICOs, provided the companies holding them follow specific guidelines in protecting investors.

“A revolution is underway, of which Bitcoin was only the precursor”

Echoing the sentiment of many Bitcoin supporters, Le Maire described Bitcoin as leading the international revolution within the finance and technology sectors. A priority of the policy proposals is to provide security for both the companies and investors participating in ICOs, as this is integral to establishing them as reputable financial events. For Le Maire, adopting cryptocurrency-friendly policies is the next natural step for France, as he sees the country as having a historical tradition of financial innovation.

This is not the first time Le Maire has discussed his interest in promoting the use of cryptocurrencies. The minister is an open advocate for digital currencies, chairing the cryptocurrency task force in France. This announcement also follows Le Maire’s persistence in bringing cryptocurrencies on the agenda at theG20 summit held in Argentina earlier this month. He took the opportunity at the summit to highlight the critical role of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for the future of finance. Although his actions at the summit were unsuccessful in establishing any sure form of international monetary policy, cryptocurrency regulation proposals are set to be announced by July.

Le Maire plans to bring the legislative proposal that targets regulating ICOs to the French Parliament within a few weeks, where he hopes to find government support to back his policies.

 

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