France’s Financial Authority Proposes Classification Method For Crypto Assets

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Governments around the world are currently forcing lockdowns and freezing their economy in an attempt to stop or at least delay the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this situation, some government branches are still actively working from home. 

The European Union is an excellent example of this, continuing its activities with all sanitary measures necessary to ensure its staff’s safety. Just last month, the European Commission finished its public consultation period on cryptocurrencies to understand better how to address its regulation within the region. The consultation, which consisted of 117 questions, was structured around the following issues:

  • How to define and classify crypto-assets?
  • What regulatory response should be given to crypto-assets that do not fall within the scope of existing European regulations?
  • How to deal with several cross-cutting issues such as market integrity, the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (AML-CFT), investor protection, or the supervision format?
  • To what extent are the frameworks applicable to crypto-assets qualifying as financial instruments (“security tokens”) appropriate? 

As the EU continues to work towards the common legal ground on the matter, the financial authority of France expressed his concerns over the EU’s attempt to regulate digital assets. According to the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the stock market regulator in France, it is simply too early to classify crypto assets. 

As detailed in a public statement released by the AMF, the financial institution is proposing to base the classification of crypto-assets on the existing categories and, in particular, to distinguish between crypto-assets that qualify as financial instruments and those that do not.

Furthermore, the AMF also supports the eventual creation of a new regime for crypto assets that could not be considered as financial instruments, detailing mandatory and optional components. The financial institution also proposes the creation of a Digital Lab to test projects in the field of security tokens to overcome regulatory obstacles. 

French authorities have been outspoken about crypto and blockchain-related matters in the region, investing in its programs to promote development in this industry. On March 30th, the central bank of France announced the launching of a program that would test the integration of a central bank digital currency for interbank settlements.

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