Getting a bank account if you are in the crypto industry is complicated. Double that trouble if you are a fledgling startup with no track record and no cash, but that is now a worry of the past, thanks to the recent crypto law France introduced. The constitution guarantees a bank account to any crypto company that is willing to opt into regulation.
It is a surprising move by the French government and the financial regulator AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers), which might be seen as avant-garde compared to other large countries such as the United States. In the US, the regulators have warned about “reputation risks” to banks that provide a deposit account to companies in the digital currency business.
Talk between AMF and stakeholders: Key to regulations
Domitille Desertine, the head of AMF’s fintech, innovation and competitiveness divisions, there was apparently good feedback from cryptocurrency businesses that was matched by the authorities. She went on to say that the government is supportive of the right to access to banking as long as the company in question is regulated.
She added that while the relationship between a bank and a startup is still contractual but if the bank refuses, they will need to justify to the AMF why they did not allow a startup to open a bank account. This will apply to all banks; no matter small or large, without exceptions.
IMF fintech head also drew a parallel to the crowdfunding issue a few years ago where banks did not want to open up bank accounts for those platforms because the money was coming from “random places on the internet.” She stated that this requirement is just one, a small part of a far-reaching blockchain focused bill that was adopted on the 11th of April.
PACTE Law offers many more options to blockchain based businesses
The French government has been keen to become a top destination for blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses. The law is designed to create a much more favorable environment for small and medium enterprises that they believe will boost the economy with a wave of innovation and entrepreneurship.
As per Domitille, there is also a provision in the law for visas to be offered to businesses that plan to provide ICO services and other “digital asset service providers.” Exchanges and custodians are also part of the plan. This is not a spur of the moment law; there has been a sense of urgency to put it into the place according to a partner at Simmons & Simmon, a top Paris based law firm. Emilien Bernard-Alzias stated that plans began some time ago and have only now come to fruition.
Dessertine meanwhile has said that interest in the new framework has been high with “20 to 30 digital asset service providers having been in touch already”. Though the formal application process will not be open yet, with the end of summer being touted as the start point, it seems that many firms will be prepared to jump as soon as the doors open.
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