Bitcoin in France: Senators focus on crypto-assets

Bitcoin, Kesako? “It was supposed to happen one day, right? That’s it, now it’s official, the French Senate is interested in cryptocurrencies. You wonder why. For reg-le-men-ter! But, before making an invoice, a commission of inquiry will draw up an inventory of cryptocurrencies in our country. The aim of our parliamentarians is above all to understand this mysterious ecosystem.

A mother opacity of all vices

On July 31, 2022, the Senate website released an explanatory report on crypto assets. First, this paper discusses the historical and technological aspects of cryptocurrencies and blockchains. It turns out that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not currencies, because their value is determined by supply and demand. Furthermore, their anonymous use would facilitate illicit transactions.

“So cryptocurrencies, thanks to blockchain, pursue a simple goal: to make coded exchanges possible, anonymous, safe, transparent for users and above all opaque for the authorities. “

Unsurprisingly, first we find money laundering via digital assets. This business has strongly progressed in 2021 reach $ 8.6 billion. However, it remains much less than 2 trillion dollars recycled in fiat.

Then comes the ongoing terrorist financing via bitcoin ATMs. This case also rung the death knell ATM on French territory, at the end of 2020. Finally, the document also mentions the use of cryptocurrencies on the darknet.

Between the rise of crypto-asset crime and the lack of public information, the observation is simple. We have to put things in order.

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Insufficient regulation for Bitcoin

According to the document, Cristina Lagarde deplores the delay in the implementation of the MiCA law. The regulation, in fact, should not enter into force before 2024. It also pushes national and European authorities to speed up the process. The President of the ECB also believes that the text is “too limited”. It is urgent to protect consumers at risk.

So, which framework to choose for Bitcoin and other crypto-assets? The author exposes the very wide range of regulations adopted by the different countries. It refers thus China’s very restrictive attitude.

Furthermore, states that opt ​​for flexible regulations would prefer to find themselves in an unstable political situation. For example, the Ukrainian president Zelensky legalized cryptocurrencies on March 16, 2022. This facilitated the receipt of donations of digital assets to equip the military. Since then, the central bank has limited the possibilities of buying cryptocurrencies with the hryvnia, the national currency.

The parliamentary text also cites El Salvador which gave Bitcoin legal tender in September 2021. The IMF he did not fail to call the country to order. It should not be easy to establish a regulatory text that takes into account all these dimensions of the ecosystem.

What does this senatorial commission of inquiry have in store? The author of the text concludes that it is above all urgent to get to know crypto-assets better in order to perhaps regulate them. A spirit of openness that is commendable. We bet that parliamentarians will have the courtesy to consult professionals in the sector. If regulation is needed to limit abuse, it shouldn’t obstruct the hymning and entrepreneurial freedom.

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