Cryptocurrency Working Group Announced By French Finance Minister

Announcements, Investing, News, Regulation | January 16, 2018 By:

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has announced the formation of a group that will work towards regulating cryptocurrencies.

Le Maire announced the working group during an economics-focused speech on Monday. He appointed former Bank of France (BOF) deputy governor Jean-Pierre Landau as the leader of the new working group. The group is tasked to draft potential new rules and warnings against the “risks of speculation and possible financial manipulation” linked to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

“Jean-Pierre Landau’s mission will be responsible for proposing guidelines on the evolution of regulations and to better control development and prevent their use for the purpose of tax evasion, money laundering, or for financing criminal activities and terrorism,” said Le Maire.

Le Maire also said that they want a stable economy and rejected the risks of speculation and the possible financial diversions linked to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. He added that the government of France will “not cede anything,” as it wants Europe to be more aggressive with regulations to compete with US and China.

Landau has been a long-time critic of cryptocurrencies. In 2014, he compared bitcoin to the Tulip mania, a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for tulip bulbs reached extraordinarily high levels and then dramatically collapsed.

“The currency is at present attractive for two reasons,” said Landau. “One is anonymity, which makes it suitable for tax evasion and money laundering — This will not last; authorities are already wising up. The other is pure speculation, and bitcoins are the tulips of modern times — The mania is not yet over, but the longer it lasts, the more investors are likely to be burnt.”

The move to form a working group came after Le Maire announced his plans to push for a discussion on how to regulate bitcoin at the G20 Summit in April. The G20 (Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability.