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French Regulator AMF Warns Against Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Firms




The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), France’s financial markets regulator, has warned the French public of more cryptocurrency investment websites that do not have authorization to operate within the country.

As a part of its mission to supervise markets and keep investors informed, the AMF keeps an updated list (French) of unauthorized companies that offer atypical investments such as "crypto-assets" on its website. The complete list is only available in French. 

On June 18, the AMF added four newly identified and unauthorized cryptocurrency-related websites to the list.

In December 2016, the AMF changed its existing regulations that applied to companies that provide assets and investment products. Companies offering investments with "financial returns or a similar economic effect" must now be authorized by the AMF and have a valid registration.

The AMF's "black list" was created in July 2017 and initially covered unauthorized diamond investment platforms. In December 2017, the AMF decided to add other unauthorized "miscellaneous asset" investment platforms, which include "crypto-assets, some of which are presented as cryptocurrencies."

On February 22, 2018, after the AMF defined cryptocurrency derivatives, it concluded that platforms offering these products "must abide by authorization and business conduct rules, and that these products must not be advertised by electronic means."

In March, the AMF added 15 companies to the list found to be offering cryptocurrency investments or assets that had continued advertising and marketing to the French public "despite the warnings of the AMF" and the new regulations.

France is by no means against cryptocurrencies, but the European country is taking frequent steps to provide frameworks to effectively regulate the sector.

On March 19, 2018, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said:

"[Although we are] benevolent about the potential and opportunities of the blockchain, we are also cautious."

Le Maire went on to say that the AMF would create a "white list" of projects that meet required standards, and would also present a legislative framework that would allow companies initiating an ICO to "demonstrate their seriousness to investors."

In another move to promote the industry, in April, French courts ruled to change the taxation classification of cryptocurrencies in France to "moveable property," reducing tax rates for cryptocurrency traders and owners by more than half.

Translations by the author.

Melanie Kramer

Melanie Kramer is a freelance FinTech, blockchain, and cryptocurrency writer based between France and Canada. Melanie has studied, and retains an avid interest in, global politics, business, and economics.

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