French Lawmaker Calls for a New Committee to Probe Crypto Assets

Key Insights:

  • Senator Nathalie Goulet is pushing for a new committee to regulate cryptocurrency usage in France. 
  • She has stated that blockchain may support crime because it “permits anonymity and favours opaque trading”. 
  • Data shows that 8% of French citizens have invested in digital assets. 

According to lawmaker Nathalie Goulet, the French Senate should set up a new committee to probe crypto assets due to the risk of “opaque markets” being linked to crime and financial instability.

Goulet, who sits on the Senate’s third-largest Centrist Union political group, further highlighted how Senators don’t have the technological know-how to navigate the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation recently agreed upon by the European Union.

French Senate

In a letter posted on the Senate’s website, the French lawmaker pushed for a committee to regulate cryptocurrency usage in the nation.

With the growing popularity of cryptocurrency, Goulet highlighted the potential negative impact of its technology, stating that blockchain may support crime because it “permits anonymity and favours opaque trading”. There were also parallels drawn between cryptocurrencies and the subprime mortgages that caused the 2008 financial crisis.

The letter read: “Crypto assets, thanks to the blockchain, pursue a simple objective: to make encoded, anonymous, secure, transparent exchanges possible for users and above all opaque for the authorities. The complete absence of regulation by a central authority allows users to completely escape the supervision of governments”.

According to Goulet, there are many people who still don’t understand the cryptocurrency sector and thus cannot adequately confront topics like the Markets in Crypto Assets legislation. She stated: “I’m not sure that today there are 10 senators who are capable of understanding” crypto policy issues.

In addition, Goulet also touched on how crypto assets facilitate the financing of terrorism as well as many other illegal activities. Notably, the senator has a long history as France’s leading security expert and recently penned a book on funding mechanisms used by terrorists which noted that cryptocurrencies are being increasingly used for money laundering activities.

In terms of adoption, a joint survey by ADAN, KPMG and pollsters IPSOS found that 8% of French citizens have invested in digital assets, while 30% are open to entering the crypto market.

In fact, the proportion of French people holding cryptos surpassed the percentage of citizens holding treasury stocks (6.7%) and IPSOS estimates that at least 12% of the population will own crypto by the end of this year.

Last month, French lawmaker Pierre Person called on the government to recognise decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO) and non-fungible tokens (NFT) in its legal system.

In May this year, cryptocurrency exchange Binance registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) as part of efforts to make Paris its European base. As well as being registered as a digital asset service provider (DASP) by France’s market regulator, the company is also seeking a formal licence to open regional headquarters in the country.

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