The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, has become the most senior European official to metaphorically wave the crypto flag as he declares this space has his “total and determined support.”
In a meeting with Alex Stachtchenko, co-founder of a French start-up Blockchain Partner, Le Maire said, according to a rough translation:
“I was new a year ago, but now I’m passionate. It took me a year. Let us educate our fellow citizens to make France the first place for blockchain and crypto-assets innovation in Europe.”
The two discussed how to address some of the main barriers that stand in front of this space, starting with anti-competitive practices by banks which tend to deny accounts to blockchain companies.
According to local media citing Stachtchenko as a source, the minister said that the situation is dramatic and alarming for the companies of this sector.
A bank account is obviously the first element of competitiveness for France. Without a bank account, there is no opportunity to create businesses; Le Maire is paraphrased as saying before Stachtchenko further adds:
“On this subject, between the State on one side and the project promoters on the other – I quote – ‘the interests are aligned.’ The first because it needs to keep the creators of value and the second because it is better to take a known and strong French bank than to risk its capital on foreign accounts or foreign risky banks.
The minister thus undertakes to support our cause with the French Central Bank in particular.”
They further discussed taxation, where the potential of exempting crypto-crypto exchanges from taxation was suggested.
The minister seems to think that the best way to tax cryptos is once, presumably when they’re fully sold for fiat and sent to a bank account.
But no decision seems to have been made as Le Maire “wishes to deepen discussions on tax competitiveness issues in particular, through regular exchanges with the ecosystem, to develop effective relevant measures.”
Another important point of discussion was Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The minister is parpahrased as stating that it “is necessary to professionalize the ICOs and their evaluation, whether by independent rating agencies, the AMF label, or other methods, in order to promote the adoption of the general public in a sustainable and secure way.”
Finally, the minister wants to move quickly, seize the opportunity and seize the momentum, so that in the autumn legislative calendar he “wishes to discuss a maximum of topics to ensure that we take advantage of the momentum in order to remove the most obstacles to the development of the French ‘crypto’ ecosystem.”
And thus Paris rises in one of the most fascinating story we’ve had the privilege of reporting. Only two or three months ago we saw Le Maire as chief architect of a potential hostile move by Europe through the G20 mechanism.
Now they’re singing the wind of change. And what a change it has been, for finally Europe is now brought on our map, with our horizon so extending to the full globe, minus China.
“You have with me a total and determined support to change things.” – Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Finance.