"We will not miss the blockchain revolution," declared France's minister of finance Bruno Le Maire in an op-ed published by French media today. "No consumer … or entrepreneur can carry out a transaction, can invest, or can develop a business in a regulatory vacuum. This goes for France like the rest of the world. In this very moment in Buenos Aires, on the occasion of the G20 summit, I place this ambition at the heart of discussions with my international partners. This is France's role: to be a driving force behind proposals for building the world of tomorrow."
These comments from Le Maire are likely timed to coincide with a high-level meeting of financial authorities and central bankers at today's G20 meeting in Argentina.
Le Maire had lobbied for cryptocurrency-related discussions in the weeks and months leading up to the summit. His calls for consideration of the emerging cryptospace are in step with the broader G20 agenda, which is to develop "policy responses" for "the emergence of new technologies."
Le Maire goes on to describe French leadership for the development and support of technology as essential for jobs and economic growth, but also as a source of national pride. "France is one step ahead in FinTech," he argued. "A revolution is underway, of which bitcoin was only the precursor. The blockchain will offer new opportunities to our startups, for example with the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) that will allow them to raise funds through 'tokens.'"
Le Maire described how the "revolution" could disrupt "our daily practices in the banking and insurance sectors, financial markets, but also patents and certified acts." The minister maintained that France must "anticipate" these changes and not be "mere spectators" but "become actors in this revolution."