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France shifts its firm stand on crypto licensing

Legislation Regulation generic 3 1

Legislation Regulation generic 3 1

French lawmakers have voted to make it mandatory for bitcoin (BTC)-linked businesses in France to abide by strict consumer protection rules and comply with the statutes of the incoming MiCA regulation beginning in 2024.

The global shock that came with the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX has made regulatory watchdogs across various jurisdictions sit up and pay more attention. Some of them return to the drawing board to cover up loopholes.

By awarding Crypto.com regulatory approval to launch operations in the country and granting Binance a digital asset service provider (DASP) registration, French lawmakers proved to be friendly and accepting of crypto operations.

Although the country’s financial regulators only blacklisted two crypto-related websites last year, the decision to tighten policies in the crypto space was a serious consideration. Thanks to the fall of the exchange and the coming MiCA policies.

Last  Dec., under pressure to tighten its crypto regulations, French lawmakers considered a full licensing regime for both the lessons from FTX’s bankruptcy and the forthcoming EU laws.

Senator Hervé Maurey proposed the elimination of a clause that enables crypto companies to operate in France with a full license until 2026. This clause stands even with the arrival of MiCA by late 2024 or early 2025. There was a valid fear that firms would register in France to avoid playing by the rules

However, following the vote of the lawmakers at the National Assembly (61 in favor and 33 against), crypto firms registering in France as of 2024 would have to face additional rules to manage conflicts of interest, separate clients’ assets, and publish their fees.

While this presents a little more obligation than the current registration requirements, it is more amenable than the compulsory licensing requirement earlier proposed by authorities.

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