« A framework to which we submit. » Like the CEO of the crypto asset company Coinhouse, the players in the industry are eagerly awaiting the establishment of « clear » and « uniform » standards at European level. According to Simon Polrot, President of the Association for the Development of Digital Assets (Adan), which represents around forty French companies in the industry, crypto assets, which are constantly changing and evolving, still cause many « fears ».
Most of the fears come from « players who are not in the industry » but companies need to develop. For example, « the banks do not yet have sufficient knowledge to understand the risk profile of the players » and do not commit to opening a bank account, for example, Judge Simon Polrot.
The general public is at risk of fraud
The crypto assets include virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and new financing options through « tokens » that open up financial rights or services and use blockchain technology.
For the general public, these assets also suffer from their association with fraud. The regulations « put potential customers at ease, » said Nicolas Louvet, director of Coinhouse, a cryptocurrency management and buying and selling company in euros. His company was the first to receive approval as a digital asset service provider (Psan) from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) in March 2020. Approval is issued after proof of compliance with obligations relating to cybersecurity, the registration of movements or even the use of service providers.
In France, the stock exchange gendarme played an active role in developing a national framework with the pact law passed in 2019. The legislation has regulated ICOs (Initial Coin Offering) on the basis of « tokens » (tokens) that can be issued by companies in need of financing. « These are tokens that we buy in exchange for rights, for example for access to a service or for discounts, » explains Stéphanie Cabossioras, Deputy Legal Director at the AMF.
France has thus acquired one of the most complete systems in Europe. However, the regulations vary greatly from country to country. « A real harmonization at European level is necessary to achieve greater coherence » and thus to create a market that can keep up with the other great world poles – the United States and Asia – stresses Franck Guiader. He heads the company Gide225 and specializes in digital transformation.
Another challenge, once this regime was defined, « players returned to the AMF to purchase a new tool, security tokens, » tokens that offer rights of a reasonable financial nature (dividend, interest or governance). just like stocks or bonds, says Stéphanie Cabossioras. They are therefore subject to the financial market regulations, which are mainly defined in Brussels. The use of this device based on the blockchain reduces the intermediaries and thus the transaction costs.
Reduced transaction costs
The European Commission launched a stakeholder consultation in 2020 to come up with a proposal for a regulation on crypto assets to be published this autumn. « Three years ago there was nothing in Europe, » emphasizes Emilien Bernard-Alzias, lawyer with Simmons & amp; Simmons in Paris. The path is therefore immense, especially with other growing practices such as « stablecoins », virtual currencies whose price is fixed. In a changing world, the proposal should leave plenty of room for experimentation with new practices by gamblers under the supervision of Esma, the European stock exchange policeman.
However, the legislative period is long and the European regulation does not come into force for a year before it comes into force. In France, « 90% of the pact law has served us nowhere, » even emphasizes Nicolas Louvet, impatiently waiting for the commitment to obtain the Psan approval to come into effect for all companies in the sector from December 2020.
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