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.”
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