The People of France have Spoken: ICOs Are Not Securities

The French financial supervisory authority, the Autorité des marchés financiers, recently held a public consultation on the subject of initial coin offerings, and has now published the results.

The AMF reports on its website that it received 82 responses from individuals, law firms, financial companies, digital finance companies, “market infrastructures”, and academic institutions.

It has been revealed that the majority of these “expressed support for the establishment of an appropriate legal framework for this new type of fundraising.” Consequently, the AMF is going to continue working towards developing that framework.

The public consultation was launched as a result of the high level of interest in blockchain technology. The respondents were presented with three possible options for regulation:

1, The publishing of a ‘guide’ promoting good practice under current laws;
2, The definition of ICOs as securities, and an extension of the current law to treat them as such;
3, The creation of brand new legislation just for ICOs.

The third option received over two thirds of the votes, and only three people voted for option number two.

All respondents believed that investors should be fully informed as to the particulars of a given project – specifically, the idea/technology behind the project, the rights conferred by tokens purchased, and how the project intends to handle the funds that it raises. Almost all respondents believed that the identity of the team behind the ICO should be fully disclosed.

Most of the respondents were found to be in favour of ICOs sequestering funds as a safeguard against fraud, and they were also found to be for stronger mechanisms to prevent illegal activity in general, including money sent to terrorists.

In December, finance minister Bruno Le Maire told a French news channel that he proposes that the subject of Bitcoin be discussed at the G20 summit in April, and shortly after that he set up a work group to examine the possibility of regulating cryptocurrency in France.

He put in charge of the group a man named Jean-Pierre Landau, a former deputy governor of the country’s central bank. Landau has made negative comments about cryptocurrency in past.

Bruno Le Maire explained at the time: “We want a stable economy: we reject the risks of speculation and the possible financial diversions linked to bitcoin.”


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