Is France going to be more ICO friendly? AMF prioritizes ICO regulation
France seems to be changing its attitude towards ICOs, it seems that they might be friendlier compared to other countries. Countries like China, Russia or even the US, are sceptical about ICOs. Several countries have even banned ICOs because of the risks associated with the crowdfunding platforms. The ICO regulations and bans on have affected several growing crypto businesses.
The French Treasury, while acknowledging the risks involved in ICOs justified the need for ICO regulations, as well. They believe that it can balance innovation and toxic investments in the ICO field. The topic was even discussed as part of the annual report in the French parliament. President of the Autorité des Marchés Financier (AMF), Robert Ophèle, spoke about several topics while presenting the 2017 AMF annual report.
He spoke about PACT Act and ICO’s when he presented the annual report in front of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly. The AMF has announced that ICO regulation will be prioritized in 2018. The annual AMF report reads,
“… 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 report also states that the agency has conducted a thorough research on Blockchain technology and ICOs. Here is an excerpt from the report,
“ … This work – which resulted, in particular, in a public consultation of the AMF at the end of 2017 on the different management options for ICOs – aims to change the French regulatory framework and to feed European and international working groups on these subjects.”
“In parallel, considering that certain forms of ICO could in the future constitute an alternative mode of financing for a segment of the economy in connection with blockchain technology, the AMF has launched a program of support and research of ICOs. Called UNICORN (Universal Node to ICO’s Research & Network), this program aims to provide project owners with a framework for developing their operations and to ensure the protection of the players and investors wishing to participate.”
“The AMF has also set itself the goal of encouraging academic research on this subject. At the same time, in collaboration with the ACPR, it has also carried out awareness-raising campaigns to identify the risks associated with this type of investment or investments in bitcoins for unsuspecting customers.”
The current French government had publicly stated that they intend to become “la Capitale des ICO.” The AMF consultation regarding ICO regulation, launched last year, cleared the way for the government. The consultation paper aimed to clarify how ICOs can be better regulated in France. The paper outlined three options:
- The regulator suggests that introducing some best practices, which the market players will have to conform to.
- The paper suggests that the scope of existing ICOs should be extended. According to the paper, they should be treated as public offerings of securities.
- The regulator also plans to develop a specific regulatory model with the launch of a license.
The AMF received around 82 responses with the majority of them opting for specific and tailored regulatory framework. But, they ask that this new regulation is made optional. All the respondents think that an information document is necessary to inform buyers of tokens. They believe that the document should include:
- Information on the ICOs project and plans for advancement.
- The token holders’ rights and how the funds will be utilized after the ICO.
If they manage to get these regulations in place, it’ll be a step in the right direction for France to become a global ICO capital. And if the country establishes regulations for ICOs, it’ll serve as an example to the rest of the world too.
Image via Shutterstock
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