Category Archives: Bruno Le Maire

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French Crypto Taxes See Yet Another Drop Proposal

After stating in April 2018 that cryptocurrency taxes in France would be lowered, it appears that the government has settled on a figure.

Gains from the sale of cryptocurrencies were previously labeled as industrial and commercial profits under French tax law and therefore could have up to as much as 45% tax levied on them for larger users. With French social security contributions (CSG) currently standing at 17.2%, some wealthier crypto traders could have been paying a massive 62% in tax.

In April the Conseil-D’état, under new tax laws specifically aimed at Bitcoin had suggested setting the new crypto tax rate at 19%, which is the same rate applied to what the French call “movable property”, such as cars, jewelry, and patents. Bitcoin would fall into that same category.

However, the Finance Commission in France’s lower house of parliament revealed on Wednesday that its latest amendment to French taxation as it applies to cryptocurrency assets proposes a flat rate of 30%, equal to the current rate of French capital tax, from January of 2019.

The Bank of France proposed a ban earlier this year on investment companies to keep financial institutions from conducting business in the cryptocurrency market until the government could enact proper regulation. The Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau commented earlier this year that new laws were required to cover cryptocurrency exchanges, assuring investors who had previously been shocked when he commented:

“Bitcoin is in no way a currency or even a cryptocurrency. It is a speculative asset. Its value and extreme volatility have no economic basis, and they are nobody’s responsibility.”

The latest details coming from France’s lower house are sure to encourage investors, although original suggestions of a new rate of 19% proposed by the Conseil-D’état earlier in the year would have been far more warmly received by the industry.

The French aim is still geared towards establishing a more global regulatory network as digital currency is used globally, not simply in France. The country’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, has suggested that the G20 need to reach agreement on how Bitcoin could be regulated amongst the member countries.

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New French ICO Framework Attracts Innovation, Boosts Macron’s Business Plan

France is continuing to follow President Macron’s plan raise its business profile in the world by establishing a legal framework for ICOs.

A recent Autorité des Marchés Financier (AMF) annual report indicated that ICOs are most definitely on the agenda for further regulatory framework as Robert Ophèle, President of the AMF, indicated that the government body would:

“…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 government has now taken one step further with a new announcement by finance minister Bruno Le Maire that the corresponding legislation, Article 26, had now been “adopted in (parliamentary) committee”, to improve business growth in the country, adding, “This legal framework will attract innovators from around the world of blockchain…”

✅Article 26 adopté en commission #PACTE !

➡Un cadre juridique des #ICO est créé. L’@AMF_actu pourra délivrer un visa aux acteurs respectant des critères de protection des épargnants
➡Ce cadre juridique va attirer les innovateurs du monde entier #blockchain #DirectAN

— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) September 12, 2018

The legislation will allow the AMF to now approve businesses wanting to launch ICOs in France, given certain criteria are met by companies that “those projects provide specific guarantees for investors”.

Law firm Kramer Levin sees the new legislation providing a clear a definition of tokens for would-be French investors, suggesting that a token is:

“An intangible property representing, in numerical form, one or more rights that can be issued, registered, conserved or transferred using a shared electronic registration mechanism that facilitates the identification, directly or indirectly, of the owner of said property.”

After the lackluster and largely ineffective government led by previous president Francois Holland, Macron’s new regime has taken businesses to task with real vigor in an attempt to refresh outmoded business practices and regulations and inspire overseas faith in a new forward-looking approach, largely driven by government.

President Macron is seen by those that know him well and experts in the sector as a pro-tech leader, believing that he will further the interests of startups in the crypto industry as part of his business rejuvenation plan for the nation.

 

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Sharp Spike in French Blockchain Growth Demonstrates Macron Vision

There has been a sharp spike in startups using blockchain technology innovations in France, and much of this is down to the new French president.

France struggled through the period under President Francois Hollande’s tenure with his popularity rating hitting as low as 4%. President Macron appears to be breathing much needed new energy into the French economy as he takes on the old protectionist guard hanging on to out-moded work practices and attacks the 36-hr working week, although his stance has ruffled feathers in the processes.

Even back in 2016, at the height of Hollande’s dismal reign as President, Macron, then Minister of the Economy, began to make positive sounds towards oncoming legislation for blockchain start-ups. He said then:

“We are going to take advantage of the Financial Regulation Ordinance, which is responsible for updating cash certificates and creating mini-cash, to experiment on the blockchain.”

A significant factor in his approach to the economy has been the way in which the new French government has addressed new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The new approach is already factoring in these technologies as an inevitable factor of French life.

Not only this but under Macron, France want to become a fintech trendsetter. The French government says that is currently preparing to legislate for ICOs, and recently, as reported by Bitcoin News, heavily reduced cryptocurrency tax rates. Also this month, Europe’s leading blockchain startup accelerator, Chain Accelerator launched in Paris.

Anji Ismail, CEO of Varanida, thinks this change of direction means that the French are beginning to subscribe to the American ideal of risk-taking rather than worrying about failing in business. If this is true, then it comes very much from the top with Macron exuding a confidence seldom seen at the heart of the French government in recent times. The risk of failure has caused many a French entrepreneur to balk at the final hurdle, Ismail suggests, an emotion little felt by their American counterparts when it comes down to business. To fail in American business is to learn.

The French government, according to Ismaol, given the right set of circumstances would see unlisted securities on the Paris Bourse. The Cabinet has already passed legislation that allows the transfer of ownership of certain financial securities using blockchain storage as a DLT.

France’s forward-thinking position was made clear recently when the French Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire gave blockchain his official green light. He said:

“The use of this technology will allow fintech and other financial players to offer new solutions for securities trading – faster, cheaper, more transparent and more secure solutions.”

Perhaps less fear and more energy is the new French approach to business. Time will tell.

 

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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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