France is bidding to become the most friendly jurisdiction for ICOs as their Ministry of Finance prepares to rush legislation that will create a voluntary regulatory framework according to local media.
“Our goal is to provide legal certainty for those who seek it, without hindering those who want to follow their own path. We have a rather liberal approach.
We work for a flexible, non-dissuasive framework. At the same time, we are not naive either, we know that these products can be risky,” sources from the Ministry of Finance, or as the French call it due to its location, Bercy, told local media.
AMF, the French Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is planning to take an innovative approach of incentivized regulations.
The framework for ICOs will probably take the form of an optional authorization scheme, with or without a license issued by the AMF.
Those that want a license will have to provide guarantees to investors, but unlicensed ICOs will not be banned with France thus taking a very different approach from any regulator so far.
It stands in stark contrast to the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) which has merely extended centuries old discriminatory laws to 21st century innovation. With a SEC division considering even cloud mining purchases as securities.
Paris has also seemingly beaten London to it, although we can’t imagine even FCA would have been this forward looking.
The approach France is taking is one we have recommended in these pages and is in itself quite a fascinating experiment.
A licensed ICO will naturally attract more trust, especially if the licensing process is reasonable and fast. That might affect what coverage they get, and of course it might affect how much investment attention they get.
An unlicensed ICO, on the other hand, will naturally have to explain why they are not complying with what we presume would be reasonable guidelines.
There would still be an element of guilty until proven innocent as unlicensed ICOs might automatically be initially seen with suspicion if the guidelines are reasonable and approvals are timely, but entrepreneurs would have the choice.
Unlike in America where they are being locked up based on ancient discriminatory laws. Some are fraudulent and deserve to be locked up, but there are plenty of laws that can be used in those sort of cases.
France therefore is seemingly using those other laws where financial crime occurs through fraud or outright scamming, while giving entrepreneurs the choice whether to comply with ICO guidelines or explain to their investors why they are not complying.
This is so radical, it can’t be called anything but a very innovative experiment in regulations because this voluntarism will keep the regulator accountable too.
That’s the case as the badge of approval is of course very valuable. If no one is seeking it, then there must be something wrong with the guidelines.
The SEC guidelines require huge forms, an army of lawyers, quite a lot of money, and then many months or even years for a green light.
When really the main thing investors would be interested in is whether the team does really have the experience they say they have and, if there is a product or a pre-operating company, then how much were the profits, revenue, and of course whether those numbers are actually true.
The rest is secondary and to be taken into consideration by investors when deciding how much risk they want to take.
As opposed to SEC which asks them to list all potential risks, such as perhaps a flooding that might randomly wipe out the offices.
That all said, the AMF approach seems to be still at a finalizing stage for now, but France might be pulling the greatest strategic move since London welcomed blockchain companies in the midst of the Bitlicense debacle.
London then went on to be crowned the Fintech Capital of the World and took the Financial Capital of the World title from New York.
If Paris does really go ahead with a voluntary ICO licensing framework, we might see that history rhyme once more.
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