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France’s top bank official calls for mandatory crypto licensing rules

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The governor of France’s central bank has advocated for stricter crypto licensing requirements, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 5.

Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau told Paris’ financial sector this week that France should enact regulations sooner rather than later.

Villeroy de Galhau said during a speech:

All the disorder in 2022 feeds a simple belief: it is desirable for France to move to an obligatory licensing of DASP as soon as possible, rather than just registration.

In France, full Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) licensing is currently optional, and Bloomberg suggests that no French companies have obtained a full license. Instead, about 60 companies have obtained a less extensive “registration” from the country’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF), according to today’s report.

One of those companies is Binance, which received permission to operate in France last May. Other registered companies can be seen on the AMF’s website.

Villeroy de Galhau is not the only French official who has urged for further regulations. In December, Senate member Hervé Maurey proposed an amendment that would do away with the “registration” option. Maurey cited the collapse of FTX as one reason for stricter regulations, calling the event a moment of “reckoning and awareness.”

Even if particular individuals do not succeed in introducing tighter regulations, future Europe-wide rules will likely make full DASP licensing mandatory in 2026.

Stricter regulation could prevent France from engaging fully with the crypto industry. France’s regulations are currently recognized for being somewhat crypto-friendly: the DASP program above is frequently described as having a “light touch”, and the country also maintains an ICO visa program that allows new token sales.

However, France also has a number of strict policies that might discourage growth in the crypto sector — such as restrictions on cryptocurrency-related advertising and a 30% flat tax on all crypto investment income.

Posted In: , Regulation
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