France’s AMF Chairman Calls for New Approach to Proposed EU Crypto Regulations

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Robert Ophèle, chairman of France’s financial regulatory body, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), proposed a robust approach regarding cryptocurrecy regulations in order to encourage the growth and development of innovative projects.

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Speaking at the just concluded 5th Annual Conference Fintech and Regulation, Ophèle stated that with the continuous growth of the cryptocurrency sector, it was necessary for Europe to put in place appropriate regulatory policies.

Back in September 2020, the European Commission proposed a new regulatory framework for crypto assets. The proposal included a pilot regime for markets willing to trade and settle using crypto transactions.

The commission also introduced a policy called the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) for crypto assets not considered as financial instruments. Digital wallet providers and crypto exchanges would also come under the purview of the MiCA.

Meanwhile, Ophèle touched on the commission’s proposes crypto regulations, stating:

“However, while it is necessary to structure the regulation for products that do not qualify as financial instruments I should confess that I am equally supportive of the other legislative proposal covering crypto-assets that qualify as financial instruments: the proposal for a pilot regime, which could waive some provisions of existing regulations. MiCA will close a loophole while the pilot regime will prepare tomorrow’s financial market.”

The AMF chief further mentioned various improvements that could help provide a robust policy regime. Ophèle stated that a strictly limited policy regime would drive crypto-based businesses out of the European Union (EU).

Part of the recommendations include widening the scope of technologies to be tried and tested. Ophèle noted that business models that operate decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain should be allowed testing in the proposed pilot regime.

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In addition, the AMF Chairman recommended the European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) to be in charge of the new regulation. Giving reasons for proposing ESMA as a competent body, Ophèle said:

“First, this would be the best way to guarantee a level playing field in the EU. Second, as this regulation is brand new, it is easier to provide ESMA with competence from the outset than if this is considered at a later stage. Moreover, it would make sense to gather all the expertise within the same authority, since the cost of entry in the crypto-world is quite high.”

Meanwhile, more countries continue to formulate regulatory policies for the crypto industry. However, Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), said back in January that bitcoin needed a unified global regulatory framework.

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