On February 22, France's top financial regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), published a press release indicating that online platforms which allow users to trade in cryptocurrency derivatives may no longer advertise those financial products and must be approved "to offer investment services."
Though EU legislation does not officially define what a "derivative" is, the document notes, the legal framework known as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) provides a basis for defining certain financial instruments as derivatives. Following its own analysis, the AMF has determined that derivatives based on digital assets fit this definition.
As a result, online marketplaces offering these financial products are subject to a related set of regulations, the MiFID II.
In addition to the requirement that they receive official approval to operate and the prohibition on advertising, these platforms will be obliged to adhere to MiFID II's "conduct of business rules." They will also have to abide by a provision of a regulation known as EMIR, which requires over-the-counter derivative trades to be reported to a central "trade repository."
In a speech in January, France's finance minister called for proposals aimed at preventing virtual currency from being used to launder money, evade taxes, and finance terrorism, and asked a former Bank of France deputy governor to investigate cryptocurrencies.
Translations by the author.