French National Assembly Votes for Tougher Registration Rules for Crypto Firms

Crypto firms will face tougher rules to register in France as of January, under plans voted on by the National Assembly on Tuesday that are now set to pass into law.

Lawmakers voted 109-71 in favor of rubber-stamping plans, already approved by the Senate, that will see extra requirements on internal controls, cybersecurity and conflicts of interest.

The new rules have been introduced in the wake of recent market turmoil, and as the country prepares for the arrival of new laws from the European Union.

France is hoping to set itself up as a crypto hub, and companies such as Binance and Bitstamp have already successfully registered with France’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF). Registration involves checks on governance and money laundering norms, and is mandatory for all those offering trading or custody services in the country. No firm has so far gained a license, a more burdensome procedure than registration of complying with financial norms.

Strengthening France’s regime was originally proposed by Senator Hervé Maurey in December, who cited the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange and the need to avoid loopholes in the period before the EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA) takes effect. The industry feared his plan was unworkable and damaging, though regulators themselves supported the move.

In the end, both chambers of the French parliament have settled on a compromise proposal that adds extra registration requirements as of January 2024, but doesn’t force companies to seek a license. The Senate previously voted in favor of that proposal on Feb. 16.

Read more: Crypto Industry Hopes Turn to French Legislators as Regulators Back Mandatory License