Robert Ophele, the President of the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), has revealed that the AMF does not believe initial coin offerings (ICOs) fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of existing legislation. The AMF president also expressed concerns about the efficacy of the existing juridical apparatus through which the applicable regulations pertaining to an ICO is determined.
The President of France’s Financial Regulator Has Determined That Initial Coin Offerings ICOs Have “No Legal Status” According to Current French Legislation
In a recent interview with Challenges, Robert Ophele was asked about the AMF’s position with regards to the development of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The AMF president stated that there are “various issues” relating to cryptocurrency, including “tax evasion, money laundering or the financing of terrorism.” Ophele, however, emphasized that the technology “meets more legitimate needs for cash transfers in a fast and cost-free way in the world”, adding that “the financial industry is paying close attention.”
The AMF president urged French and EU authorities to take steps in order to determine a legal classification for ICOs, arguing that such would provide a juridical foundation from which the AMF could accurately identify currently existing regulations applying to initial coin offerings. Ophele also warned that French and European regulators must act with haste in order to respond to the rapidly evolving innovations emerging from within the cryptocurrency industry.
“The Idea Is Not to Ban Absolutely All ICOs… but to Study the Relevance of Different Forms in an Innovative Context.” – Franck Guiader
In an interview with Latribune, the director of the Fintech, Innovation and Competitiveness Division of the AMF, Franck Guiader, further elaborated on the AMF’s position regarding cryptocurrencies.
Guiadar emphasized the growth potential of the ICO industry, stating that such “is a very recent market, with exponential growth since the end of 2016. Guidar added that “in France, we are at the very beginning… three Initial Coin Offerings were made public by their originators, for an estimated amount of just under $ 50 million in terms of issued tokens.” The AMF representative presented a pragmatic argument pertaining to the determination of whether or not tokens issued through an ICO can comprise the distribution of unlicensed securities – stating that such “depends on the definition in national law of what is called a “digital asset”
Guiadar revealed that “in the coming months, [the AMF] will provide very concrete insights into the rules that could be applied, in particular in terms of information given to the beneficiaries of the tokens issued during these ICOs… At this stage, we would like to invite issuers to a dialogue with the regulator.”