An inevitable march towards regulation for ICOs


ICOs are gradually finding better recognition everywhere. Faced with a new mode of financing which has proved its worth, the inevitable march towards regulation has begun, France having decided to jump onboard before missing out on the opportunity.

In a few months, probably after summer, the French regulator AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers; The Financial Markets Authority) will publish its good conduct instructions. In this case, it consists of visas: exactly the same as for companies that would like to float on the stock market. The difference this time being that the door is opened for those launching an ICO (Initial Coin Offering).

France, a promised land for ICOs

This simple fact illustrates well that the tide is turning from a regulatory point of view, at least in France. It is trying now to be a welcoming land for ICOs, and it seems that the principal itself of these fundraisings has well and truly found a more than favourable reception. For the AMF, this consists in particular of giving an opinion on projects, staying close to this area but also attempting to “protect” investors by bringing their credit to a project.

Emmanuel Macron in fact already seemed in favour when he was minister of the economy. His successor Bruno le Maire is following suit. He recently wrote on Twitter:

“We will not miss out on the blockchain revolution! Cryptoassets, bitcoin, fintech….France wants to spearhead building tomorrow’s world!”

The beginning of a new world

Although there has been an appreciable difference in France taking steps in favour of the blockchain, ICOs and cryptocurrencies generally, we are only at the beginning of this adventure.

Many questions remain, for traditional investment funds but also for Family Offices and other traditional investors. The same applies for expert accounting firms, but also banks that still balk at offering bank accounts to hold funds coming from ICOs.

We still have a long way to go and for the moment, a large part of the manna from heaven that generates ICOs still evades France. Proof of this is that the vast majority of projects find their success elsewhere. We have even seen some companies moving abroad for fiscal reasons, evidence that France is not yet as friendly as it maintains. Malta, Gibraltar and even Switzerland have picked up on this and like to think of themselves as these (financial) welcoming lands.

This is the beginning of a new world. There is everything to play for, in ICOs as much as in the blockchain in general. 6.3 billion dollars were raised via ICOs just in the first quarter of 2018, already more than in 2017 altogether. For the time being France only accounts for 2.5% of this amount; less than Lithuania (2.47%), Estonia (3.71%) or Gibraltar (2.47%).



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