Jean-Michel Mis, a liberal MP from the party of French president Emmanuel Macron, La République En Marche (LREM), has co-authored a report on blockchain technology and submitted it to the government. French newspaper Les Echos quotes Mis as saying:
"2018 was year zero for the popularization of blockchain in France. 2019 must be the year of the emergence of the ecosystem." (Translated from French)
Mis recommends that France direct €500 million, around $568 million USD, of government spending to blockchain technology over the next three years. The funding would redeploy grants from the National Research Agency and the French Public Investment Bank (BPI) to blockchain and related projects. The report further recommends the funding be used for projects within the French government and administration, in partnership with technology companies.
The report's co-author, Laure de La Raudière, an MP from the French republican party (LR), says, "The state must be able to lead economic sectors."
President Macron has already committed the equivalent of over $1.5 billion in public spending to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technology by 2022. But Mis warns the two technologies should not be compared:
"The problem is not the same. We are clearly behind with AI. With blockchain, we are still in the first stages so less needs to be deployed to support the development of the sector."
De La Raudière adds, "With blockchain, we would like France to take the lead this time."
The officials further recommend investigating a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and reducing electricity rates to encourage private cryptocurrency mining, still a modest part of the cryptocurrency sector in France.
The French government has recently passed the PACTE Act, creating a legal framework for ICOs in the country, and a finance act, PLF 2019, which clarifies the regulation and taxation of cryptocurrencies in France. It also granted French cryptocurrency owners a significant tax reduction earlier this year by classing such assets as "movable property."