French Ministry of Finance Targets Strict KYC Rules For Crypto Transactions

France is strengthening its fight against anonymity in crypto transactions, Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Finance and Economics.

In a full statement sent to the Council of Ministers by Bruno Le Maire, Oliver Dussopt and Sebastien Lecornu propose stringent Know-Your-Customer (KYC) laws to govern crypto transactions. The report further calls for tough measures against anonymous accounts on any virtual asset service provider (VASP).

“We presented to the Council of Ministers this morning an order making it possible to strengthen the fight against the anonymity of crypto-asset transactions,” Le Maire wrote on Twitter on the statement on strict KYC laws on crypto.

The new rules, if implemented, are set to completely change the anonymous crypto transactions in France while forcing VASPs to check their customers’ identities, verifying crypto accounts, and reporting any malicious activities on their platform.

The new KYC requirements, first reported on TheBlock this Tuesday, aimed at curbing terrorism funding through crypto, Simon Polrot, president of French crypto association ADAN confirmed. Following the recent terrorist attacks in France, the police arrested 30 people connected with sending funding to extremists in Turkey and Syria using cryptocurrency.

This led the government to call for stronger rules to regulate anonymity in the crypto space and check user profiles sending money through France. Le Maire has been vocal on the need to “strengthen the control of funding,” given the challenges that “cryptocurrency transactions cause in terrorism financing.”

This seems to be the first wave of heavy regulation set to come across France and Europe to keep crypto-to-fiat and crypto-to-crypto transactions known. The statement states the government is very aware of the “importance of the blockchain systems” in the country’s economy. Yet, a clear policy to fight terrorism must be found, starting with crypto.

Once the Council of ministers passes the decree, it becomes law in France, forcing VASPs to collect two government identification documents for any transaction conducted on their exchange. This sets harsher laws for crypto under the jurisdiction introducing KYC for crypto-to-crypto transactions too.

The deputy governor of the Bank of France, Denis Beau, recently asked for a more global approach to regulating cryptocurrencies. While he targeted Facebook’s Libra token, the main motive behind his talk was a call for banks and regulated financial institutions to start experimenting and developing their own regulated digital assets.

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Author: Lujan Odera

European Countries Support EU Stablecoin Regulation

European countries are in favor of regulating fiat-backed cryptos, stablecoins.

Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands backed the European Commission’s goal to regulate stablecoins.

Until the regulatory, legal, and oversight challenges have been addressed, the five countries said on Friday that stablecoins should not be allowed to operate in the EU.

According to European countries, the regulatory framework of the EU for these coins should address risks to monetary policy and protect customers while maintaining their monetary sovereignty.

All stablecoins should be pegged 1:1 with fiat currency and the reserved assets denominated in the euro or any other currency of EU member states deposited in an EU-approved institution, they said.

Much like the Bank of England Governor said last week, the draft joint statement from these countries seen by Reuters, also wants the entities operating these stablecoins to be registered in the EU.

Facebook’s Libra has pushed stablecoins on policymakers’ agenda. Given that its governance body Libra Association is based in Geneva, it can impact their plans to issue its stablecoin.

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Author: AnTy

French Central Bank Publishes List of 8 Applicants To Run Tests on A Digital Euro

On July 20, French central bank, Banque De France, announced it had settled on eight candidates in its efforts to experiment digital currency solutions.

As per the press statement, the central bank stated that the experiment trials will cover a wide range of areas, but notably not in the crypto-asset transfer sphere, and will start “in the coming days.”

The selected candidates comprise renowned names in the banking and fintech industries such as HSBC, Accenture, Societe Generale, Seba Bank, LiquidShareEuroclear, Iznes and ProsperUS.

The announcement comes months after the central bank called for applications from reputable firms to experiment the utilization of digital euros that was advertised in March. During the advertisement stage, the central bank stated it was going to pick maximumly 10-CBDC-related apps with the main selection criteria being “innovative nature.”

The institution stated that it will work with individual players to experiment their proposals in efforts to examine “fresh methods of exchanging financial instruments.” In addition, the trial phase will also seek to explore the best ways of distributing CBDC as well as how they can be used for international payments.

Notably, the central bank seems to be interested in the wholesale use of CBDC as opposed to retail usage for the digital euro which means that the CBDC might be created for “interbank regulations as opposed for consumer use.

France has been pushing for the use of digital euro in Europe and in May, it launched a successful digital euro use on the blockchain in partnership with Societe Generale.

Although the bank clarified that the proposals are exclusively experimental, it however explained that the findings will be helpful to similar CBDC experimentations within the larger eurozone which will form the basics for a digital euro.

Although France seems to be at the forefront in pushing a digital euro, other countries in Europe are also at advanced stages to come up with a digital euro as well. For instance, the Italian Banking Association (ABI) has created guidelines to guide the development of a CBDC while the Dutch central bank has said it is willing to be the testing ground for a digital euro.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

French Financial Watchdog Largely Agrees With EU’s Crypto Proposal But Remains Cautious

Major stock markets regulators in France the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) have issued its official stance on crypto-assets as well as regulations in regards to the recently released European Commission’s consultation. Although the regulator agrees that an ambitious approach will help in spurring innovation, the report pinpoints that global stablecoins pose a major threat to the global financial system.

The EU Commision has been formulating a single policy on the use of virtual finance in the European Union which also deals with the various risks that come with digital money. To further this idea, the Commission came up with a public consultation platform which started Dec 19, 2019 and ended on March 19, 2020. The aim of the consultation process was to come up with an acceptable legal framework to guide the crypto asset markets.

According to Cointelegraph, the response from the AMF mostly agrees with most of the proposals by the consulting team and advocates for a friendly environment to enhance the thriving of blockchain projects within the EU. However, AMF urges caution when it comes to stablecoins.

The response by the AMF wages on the definition of crypto-assets with the regulator stating that crypto assets should be classified using the current categories so as to differentiate the crypto assets which can be said to be financial instruments and the ones which are not.

The report also indicates that most of the digital financial assets are in their infancy and as such it is not yet time to come up with a definite classification of the various crypto assets in the market. The report states that a crypto asset is any “digital asset that may depend on cryptography and exists on a distributed ledger.”

The response suggests that the EU should adopt specific provisions to deal with the stablecoins. The regulator states that stablecoins can lead to systemic risks within the EU block.

However, going by the French government’s reaction to the Libra project, the call for caution when it comes to global stablecoins is unsurprising.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

France’s Central Bank Requests Proposals For CBDC ‘Experiments’ To Show Use Cases

The Banque de France made public on March 27 a request for digital currency experiment applications, in an attempt to understand the mechanisms and risks CBDCs pose in the eurozone.

France comes upfront when it comes to the digital currencies debate, being the eurozone member with the highest profile as far as launching a CBDC goes next to Sweden, where the Riksbank is also trying to digitize currency using the krona.

4 Years Since the Banque de France is Advocating Fintech Projects

Banque de France has been advocating experimental and more advanced fintech projects since 4 years ago. It has been posting jobs and holding speeches on CBDC development all the time. Here’s what its governor, François Villeroy de Galhau, said in a speech on CBDCs from December 4:

“We as central banks must and want to take up this call for innovation at a time when private initiatives – especially payments between financial players – and technologies are accelerating, and public and political demand is increasing.”

3 CBDC Usage Cases Addressed

France has been tackling 3 CBDC use cases, such as payment against digital assets, payments against financial instruments and payments against other central banks. It doesn’t advocate money creation and says the bank’s tokens books should be destroyed when each payment day ends. Furthermore, it plans to examine the potential impact of CBDCs on market infrastructures, regulatory frameworks, macroeconomic factors and monetary policy.

The Development of a Blockchain-Based CBDC Not Necessary

When it comes to technology, the bank said that it’s neutral and doesn’t necessarily want to develop a blockchain-based CBDC, being open to innovative solutions. On July 10, 10 project applicants that have to come from the EU will be selected. However, all this doesn’t mean the bank is going to necessarily issue a CBDC. Here is what it said in a statement:

“Indeed, any decision to create a CBDC is a matter for the Eurosystem. Consequently, the Banque de France does not intend to perpetuate or conduct such experiments on a widespread basis.”

Christine Lagarde, who has been France’s minister of economy and now runs the European Central Bank, has always been pro the ECB developing a CBDC, ever since she became the head of the institution in November 2019.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bank of France Gov: Central Bankers Should Issue Digital Currencies, Not Private Companies

Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, said on Saturday that virtual currency can be useful especially when cash transactions are decreasing in various nations, however, it should be the prerogative of central banks to issue it and not private firms, Reuters reports.

In the wake of the popularity of cryptocurrencies as well as the anticipated Facebook led Libra stablecoin, most central banks around the world are now exploring ways they can introduce their own digital currencies to avert a possibility of losing their grip over money matters.

However, Villeroy said his comments are not inspired by Facebook’s Libra plans saying that it is a response to advancement in technology and the demand for digital money by various banks. He also added that soon people will start demanding an alternative to fiat money.

The governor who was speaking to France Inter Radio explained that some countries in Europe such as the Netherlands and Sweden are already experiencing a decrease in the use of fiat banknotes. In this case, there has been a debate on whether the central banks in Europe on whether to issue virtual currencies which have similar qualities like banknotes, notably central bank’s security.

The governor was asked if private firms can issue virtual currencies and he categorically stated that money can never be private. He added that money can be equated as a public good which guarantees a state of its sovereignty.

Villeroy revealed that plans are underway among different central banks to pilot digital currencies and the topic will be studied by the central banks within the eurozone.

France has been at the forefront in opposing the launching of Libra in Europe vowing that the stablecoin will never be allowed to operate in any European country. In the recent past, France Finance Minister has stated that Libra and other cryptocurrencies, if allowed to operate as currently designed, will rob nations of their financial sovereignty. France’s sentiments have also been echoed by Germany’s Finance minister.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bank of France Announces Testing of Central Bank-Issued Digital Currency in Q1 Next Year

  • The Bank of France announced its intention to launch a digital asset during a conference held by the ACPR.
  • The People’s Bank of China has been researching and testing a digital yuan since 2014.

Cryptocurrency is still a risky product for many banks and countries around the world, but the use of central bank-issued digital currency allows a safer exploration for traditional financial institutions.

As France explores this industry, the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) recently held a conference to announce their own CBDC, according to reports from The Block.

François Villeroy de Galhau, the central bank’s governor, explained that they would be testing out this type of asset soon, adding that they “will launch a call for projects before the end of the first quarter of 2020.”

Based on the comments of Villeroy de Galhau, it appears that France is committed to contributing to the innovation of the digital currency world. However, this new digital asset will allow the country to experiment with the technology with their own “serious and methodical” method, contained within their central bank.

At the recent European Union meeting, the Minister of the Economic and Finance Bruno Le Maire just announced that they were developing a “public digital currency,” not long before France discussed their asset. Previously, Le Maire had been adamantly against the Libra crypto asset from Facebook, even saying that France planned to completely block its operation in the country, unless it deals with the issues regarding Libra and monetary sovereignty.

Along with France’s efforts, the People’s Bank of China also stated that it is working on its own digital currency – DC/EP – though their efforts are in the experimental stage. The bank stated that it was “almost ready” for launch, though they’ve been researching it for about five years now.

A subsequent announcement stated that the digital yuan is still being researched and tested, though there’s yet to be any launch date

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Author: Krystle M

Banque De France Calls for An Embrace of Blockchain Financial Solutions In The Euro-System

The Central Bank of France is pushing for a blockchain-powered settlement system in the European region for quick and cost-effective euro transfers. Dennis Beau, the Deputy Governor, spoke in support of the Distributed Ledger Technology during a speech on Thursday, November 21. He said the technology is the answer to many of the presenting financial market problems.

One Solution France is suggesting is a Central Bank Digital Currency and Beau seconds this suggestion saying,

“The TOKENIZATION of financial assets combined with the recourse to blockchain-based solutions and more broadly Distributed Ledger Technologies to store and transfer those assets could help answering market’s demands.”

The Distributed Ledger Technology will help in solving delay problems related to cross-border payments. According to Beau, members of the European Union and other regions have always had to suffer long periods of waiting for payments to get transferred between international banks. Such long processes attract high fees and are generally insecure services.

Tokenization of the banking space would bring a twist and an end to the pressing problems. A combination of tokens and the DLT will aid in securing easy money transfers and addressing market demands.

Banque de France has been advocating for the adoption of the Distributed Ledger Technology for quite a long time. It has been working on a project on a digital currency execution program since October. Beau credits the bank for being the pioneer central bank to have a blockchain-powered registry system globally. Beau said,

“The Eurozone being the provider of settlement services and wholesale clearing in euros, should try the new technology to improve its services of using central bank funds for settlements,”

“The Banque de France, European Central Bank, and other central banks in the European Union are already experimenting with the new tech, especially on Central Bank Digital Currency.”

The European Central Bank has its fintech-powered Innovation Hub that it launched early this month. The platform advocates for international central banks to work together in embracing the new technologies in the financial space.

There have been rumors that the European Central Bank is issuing its own stablecoins, but the presidency of the ECB has nullified the rumor claiming that it was only interested in regulating the digital coins and not owning them.

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Author: Denis Miriti

25,000 Retail Stores, Including Sephora and Decathlon To Accept BTC In France By 2020

The Crypto Revolution is coming to France. According to an announcement made during the Paris Retail Week, over 25,000 retail stores will have support for Bitcoin payments until early 2020. This will include 30 French retailers from large chains such as Sephora and Decathlon.

This will happen because of a partnership between Global POS, EasyWallet, Easy2Play and these stores. With the partnership, BTC payments will be led to several different businesses in the country. Payments will be made in BTC but the money will always be receiving in euros by the merchants.

Deskoin and Savitar are in charging of converting the payments, which will be made in accordance with the Digital Asset Service Provider act. Other stores that will get Bitcoin payments include Cultura, Norauto, Foot Locker, Intersport and Boulanger.

Global POS CEO Stéphane Dijane affirmed that this is an important step to evolve how payments are made in France. According to her, this would prompt the country into entering Economy 3.0 by letting the citizens use crypto to make payments.

One of the goals of the initiative is to broaden the adoption of cryptos as a method of payment. France already has around 4 million crypto owners and the number is bound to increase if people discover that they have more options for how to use these assets.

At the moment, however, Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that will be used in the program. Dijaine affirmed that the company wants to give the customers more options soon, but that this is, unfortunately, not possible at the moment.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Germany’s Grand Coalition Looks To Deny All Private Stablecoins Like Facebook’s Crypto Libra

France and Germany have agreed to block Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency. In a joint statement, the two governments confirmed that no private entity can claim monetary power, which is inherent to the sovereignty of nations.

The EU is taking a tough, regulatory-laden approach to Facebook’s Libra, and is considering coming up with a common set of rules for cryptocurrencies in general. ECB board member Benoit Coeure said that when Facebook announced Libra, it was a “wake-up call” for Europe to come up with a cryptocurrency of its own.

Thomas Heilmann of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) says:

“Up to now, the economy has done a great job in countering crises and inflation with measures taken by central banks. Once a digital currency provider dominates the market, it will be quite difficult for competitors.”

The federal government can certainly envisage a state-stable cryptocurrency. It also provides for its own state block chain and a new digital corporate form for companies: The digital corporation is to facilitate start-ups in this area.

In Switzerland, Libra is applying for a payment service license, although it could face rules that typically apply to banks, regulators in the non-EU Alpine state said on Wednesday. In China, the central bank is accelerating efforts to launch the country’s digital yuan project. This move is also part of China’s plan to block Libra.

The bitcoin price has soared so far this year, climbing some 200% as expectations around Facebook’s libra, and bitcoin and cryptocurrency interest from some of the world’s biggest technology companies have driven a fresh wave of bitcoin investment.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha