Full Licensing; Latest Growing Pain for Crypto Companies in France

French Parliament deliberations may amend a clause that currently enables crypto companies to operate without a full license until 2026

In January 2023, the French Parliament may reassess its eased regime of licensing for digital asset providers, challenging the nation’s positioning as one of the most pro-crypto countries in Europe. 

The proposed amendment will eliminate a clause that currently enables crypto companies to operate without a full license until 2026. Ending the option to operate without stringent checks will oblige companies to obtain a full license from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) from October 2023 onwards. 

Hervé Maurey, a member of the French Senate’s finance commission, proposed this amendment citing the FTX collapse as a game-changer in regards to the necessity of tighter supervision within the French system. Critics also have raised concerns this year during a market shakeout in which prices of popular tokens have nosedived.

France is coming under increasing pressure to close the loophole that in years past would grant longer grace periods to digital asset companies looking to set up in the country with minimal regulatory oversight. France however is still planning to retain its current regime for an additional 18 months, regardless of tougher neighboring EU regulations likely to come into effect in 2024. 

The French government however has so far opposed the text proposal, arguing that speeding up the implementation of regulatory requirements risks scaring off investors. Currently, there are at least 50 registered digital currency firms that operate in France without a license from AMF. 

President Emmanuel Macron, has repeatedly 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, skepticism toward the self-regulated financial sector looms still. Although unlikely, the amendment proposal signals for some a renouncing of the ambition to become a global crypto hub.

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