Category Archives: Bruno Le Maire

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French Regulator Tightens Controls on Unauthorized Crypto Firms

Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the body responsible for regulating financial markets in France has noted in its last update that four cryptocurrency websites have been blacklisted.

This follows the regulators blacklisting 20 new investment websites, mostly cryptocurrency-related ventures, back in September. At the time, AMF advised French citizens investing in these new projects that “no advertising materials should make you overlook the fact that high returns always involve high risk”.

Now, nine more websites have been listed as “proposing atypical investments without being authorized to do so,” on the AMF website on December 14th. The blacklisted websites contain four crypto websites which reportedly centre on unauthorized investment offerings.

According to the AMF, websites such as one of the blacklisted sites elos-patrimoine.com were accused of offering monthly returns to investors between 3% and 5% without the authorization to offer guarantees. The other cryptocurrency websites were live-crypto.com.net, iminage.com, and infoconso.info.

French investors were warned that many new cryptocurrency projects are still awaiting AMF’s approval to offer services, and unfamiliar websites should be treated with caution by the public, particularly given the current wave of new crypto websites coming online.

The move by the AMF is part of an increased focus in ensuring that new ICO’s are fulfilling regulator’s legal registration and operating requirements. In September, the French Parliament passed the Autorité des marchés financiers framework drafted early in the year, designed to protect those investing in ICOs.

Earlier this year, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire described cryptocurrency as a “revolution”. Another prominent national, former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, now IMF head, described future international digital currency regulation as “inevitable”.

In September, France’s Minister for the Economy and Finance announced that the government had accepted an article of the Business Growth and Transformation bill (PACTE) dedicated to Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) which stipulates that prior to any ICO, a firm must apply for a license from the AMF providing detailed information on the offer and issuer.

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Mais Oui! French Tabacs to Sell Bitcoin Next Year

The French Tabac (tobacco store) is a national institution but next year is changing quite dramatically as along with your pack of Gitanes, morning coffee and perhaps a small cognac, you can now pick up your Bitcoin.

The Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), the institution charged with monitoring the transactions performed by banks and insurance companies in France, has given tobacconists the green light to sell Bitcoin over the counter from the beginning of 2019 through Point of Sale (POS) locations at participating tabacs throughout the country.

The initial launch of the groundbreaking concept will see between 3,000 and 4,000 tabacs selling Bitcoin in amounts of 50, 100, or 250 euros. The firm Bimedia, a company which provides terminals for the collection of items at tabacs, has combined with the KerplerK cryptocurrency platform to provided the POS terminal system.

Customers will be able to purchase their Bitcoin using the on-site POS devices and then use an issued ticket to redeem their digital currency amount on the KeplerK website. Phillipe Coy, President of the Confederation of Tobacco shops, sees the move as a way of bringing the French tabac into the 21st century, suggesting that adding Bitcoin sales “brings us closer to modern times of consumption, and use”.

The tabacs offer a unique public service to French communities, particularly in small villages where they often cover for the local bakery and other services. Bitcoin would simply be one more product available to customers who are unable to have access to larger centers.

La Fédération des Buralistes (the Confederation of Tobacco Shops) offers KerplerK the potential for 25,000 POS for Bitcoin. The company has claimed that it currently has 27,000 operators and POSs which would make it a world leader in the field.

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 among member countries.

Locally, the focus lately in France has been adjusting its tax system to accommodate cryptocurrencies, resulting in dropping the tax rate to 19% but this figure has recently been amended. It appears the French government is still struggling to adapt to the addition of digital currency to the country’s financial structure.

 

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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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