France to Tighten Crypto Registration Rules Next January

Registration conditions for French crypto firms will be tightened as of January, 2024 under plans published Friday by a committee of lawmakers from both chambers of parliament, but not as much as initially sought by the Senate, the country's upper house.

Newly applying companies will have to meet extra rules on internal controls, cybersecurity and conflicts of interest, the text from the Joint Committee said. That's less onerous than a previous Senate position that would have required companies to seek a license.

The text agreed on by the special legislative committee is due to be approved by the Senate on Feb. 16 and the National Assembly on Feb. 28.

Under French crypto regulations, companies can register with the Financial Markets Authority to show compliance with basic money-laundering and governance norms. No operator has yet received a license, a more burdensome procedure that also requires checks on financial resources and business conduct.

Faustine Fleuret, president of crypto lobby group ADAN, told CoinDesk the enhanced registration procedure was a “much more pragmatic approach” than the Senate's. But, she warned, a new requirement to have resilient and secure IT systems could prove difficult for small companies to meet and for regulators to police.

Senator Hervé Maurey last year proposed tightening the rules in the wake of the FTX collapse, and to ensure French law doesn't offer a loophole from complying with new European Union rules known as the Markets in Crypto Assets regulation.

Maurey’s plans would have meant any unregistered crypto provider has to seek a license as of October, which industry lobbyists said could prove unworkable.

Read more: French Lawmakers Soften Stance on Compulsory Crypto Licenses