France may oblige crypto platforms to obtain licenses



Following the global trend of tightening the crypto regulation in the aftermath of recent market failures, France may reassess its eased regime of licensing for digital asset providers. That would challenge the nation’s efforts to present itself as one of the most pro-crypto countries in Europe. 

According to the Financial Times, Hervé Maurey, a member of the French Senate’s finance commission, proposed an amendment to eliminate a clause enabling crypto companies to operate without a full license until 2026. The current regime preserves this possibility even after the Markets in-Crypto Assets (MiCA) coming into law in 2024.

Maurey’s amendment will end the option to operate without stringent checks as it will oblige companies to obtain a license from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) from October 2023. In his words, the FTX collapse was a game-changer in that regard:

“This led a number of players within the French system to consider that things needed to be supervised more tightly.”

Currently, there are at least 50 registered companies that operate in France without a license from AMF. An ex-member of the AMF board, Thierry Philipponnat, considers the level of investors’ protection within this regime as “very light if not non-existent.” 

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The amendment was adopted by the Senate on Dec. 13 and will head to Parliament deliberations in January 2023. The local industry’s association, Developing the French Digital Asset Industry (Adan), regards the amendment as a sign of “abandoning an industry of the future” by French lawmakers.

The government of Emmanuel Macron, who has recently started his second presidential term, is famous for its vocal support of the digital assets industry. Back in April, before the second round of the presidential election, Macron expressed his faith in the necessity of raising the number of tech unicorns in the country, developing an NFT policy and the “European metaverse.” However, he also shared his skepticism toward the self-regulated financial sector.