France to tighten licensing rules for crypto companies


The French National Assembly recently voted to tighten licensing rules for new cryptocurrency companies in France. Of the total votes, 109 were in favour (60.5%) and 71 against (39.5%).

The proposed bill is expected to be signed into law by President Emmanuel Macron within 15 days and, if passed, would require virtual asset service providers (VASPs) to comply with stricter anti-money laundering rules.

Starting in July, cryptocurrency companies will be forced to register and obey stricter rules. This includes demonstrating that their customers' funds are insulated from their own, as well as providing periodic reports to the authorities. Moreover, they should inform users about the attendant dangers of digital currency and take measures to protect users' rights.

The bill does not affect around 60 cryptocurrency companies, which are currently registered with the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF). These companies will be subject to AMF rules until the MICA, the European Union's bill on digital asset management, is approved. The European Parliament is likely to vote on it in April, and if adopted, its provisions on crypto-asset management in the EU will come into force in 2024.

Hervé Morey, who is a member of the French Senate Finance Commission, has proposed a tighter licensing policy for virtual currency companies and asked lawmakers in December 2022 to remove a provision from French law that allowed VASPs (virtual asset service providers) to operate under a simplified licence until 2026.

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