Will France’s new government be more accepting of cryptos?

Pierre Person, a tenacious 33-year-old who served in the National Assembly of France for the previous five years, found it difficult to persuade the country’s established financial institutions and figures of the advantages of cryptocurrencies.

But Person, a former LREM legislator, is optimistic that attitudes toward digital currencies will change as they become more widely accepted and as the lower house of parliament changes as a result of the legislative elections in May, which saw President Emmanuel Macron‘s LREM party lose its majority.

He told Euronews Next at the International Financial Forum in Paris that “it was a fairly unknown issue, not mainstream” when he first became interested in it in 2017–2018.

“I believe our decision-makers have a different perspective on cryptocurrency. Now that more and more individuals are showing an interest in cryptocurrencies, governments can no longer ignore the topic.

The person introduced several cryptocurrency proposals to the Assembly in September 2021 while serving in the French Parliament, including one that would have applied a flat tax of 30% to digital assets. Additionally, he demanded that French businesses allow partners and employees to be paid in digital assets.

His perspective was not shared by many other deputies, and the revisions were delayed until 2023.

Person asserts that alongside the nation’s economic stability, Macron’s party has continued to support innovation and that “the administration is in favour of the entrance of this money to foster innovation.”

The important question, according to Person, is what impression the Assembly wants to project regarding its position on digital assets and digital currencies, and he hopes that it will be a transparent one.

He added that current players “must] also be more open and more friendly to these new players,” particularly commercial banks.

These new firms are now being accepted more readily in France. Binance, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the world, received regulatory permission from the nation in May.

The person feels there will always be a confrontation with conventional banking practices despite the relative openness to cryptocurrencies.

“It’s true that there are sometimes obstacles. Traditional finance, he continued, “doesn’t truly grasp the problems, sometimes struggles with adaptation, and logically doesn’t want to be pushed around.

“But just because we’ve seen how it ends doesn’t mean we should shut the door and put up gates. We have observed the effects of streaming and other Web 2.0 initiatives, and we are aware that innovation and competition are beneficial for a nation’s economic development.

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How should cryptocurrency be governed?

The second problem, according to Person, is that regulators must protect the public interest when dealing with new participants who do not follow the same regulations as established financial institutions.

In this new world, where we must allow innovation while also protecting our citizens, we must find a middle ground.

Since the meltdown of the stablecoin TerraUSD and its sibling token Luna in May, regulators have been more strict about cryptocurrencies. One of the largest cryptos crashes in history, the saga overnight erased more than $40 billion (nearly €40 billion) from the market capitalization of Luna and wiped out people’s life savings.

Since 2018, the European Parliament has worked to enact crypto laws through the Markets in Crypto Assets law, or MiCA, which is anticipated to take effect in 2024. It intends to better protect investors by establishing uniformly stricter regulations for crypto participants including exchanges and stablecoin issuers across all EU member states.

Person contends that the Terra/Luna drama’s events would not have been avoided even if the MiCA text had been passed into law in its current form.

“The politicians unquestionably claim that MiCA will help us avoid what happened. This is untrue, he declared.

There are persons who are not conscientious and who do not at all protect the interests of the depositors in our highly decentralized society, he continued.

Person supports “very tough regulation,” but he contends that Europe should design new regulations rather than attempt to adjust existing ones.

“Just because you pay with a credit card, that doesn’t necessarily mean you pay with a stablecoin. Not the same thing at all. It seems really different to me. Therefore, you must create new laws, he continued.

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Developing Europe’s top crypto athletes

Person supports “measured regulation” in order for Europe to produce its own cryptocurrency champions.

“I believe that exercising European sovereignty is necessary. Really exercising it requires having strong champions on our territory.

The next leaders are already emerging in Asia and the United States, and he expressed anxiety that they would undoubtedly arrive in France.

While he contends that giving Europe access to foreign cryptocurrency firms is beneficial, this is not the same as developing the bloc’s own champions and exporting them abroad.

We must strike the appropriate balance, and to do so, we need regulators who are transparent and aware of France’s pro-business stance.

Education of the public, as well as regulators and decision-makers, is essential to attaining this.

“I believe that the technology is sometimes misunderstood. “What it allows you to accomplish is frequently summarised in broad strokes, making it difficult to understand its full potential,” he said, adding that he hoped crypto would not become like the Internet in the 1990s when only a small portion of people was familiar with it.

He thinks that Web3, a decentralized version of the Internet that would incorporate cryptocurrency, will be the chance that France does not pass up.

We didn’t get Web 2.0. We run the risk of repeating the same mistakes for Web3 if we repeat our sins from the past, which include rejecting innovation and not welcoming finance or innovation on our soil.

However, he is confident that this won’t be the case because, in his opinion, Web3 has a sizable French-speaking population.

“It’s rather amazing to see that there is always a French person in the different initiatives because they are really strong in mathematics, they are very excellent in finance, and they are very good in engineering,” he said.

However, he acknowledges that the business owners and funders are frequently American funds or Anglo-Saxon venture capitalists.

He suggests “totally investing in our capitalism and economic paradigm in this new innovation race” as the solution.

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