Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe

F1 teams forced to remove ‘crypto’ branding due to French laws regulatory uncertainty: report

While France is primarily digital assets friendly, its regulations for the industry are not completely clear. This has recently been showcased in the debacle faced by Formula 1 (F1) racing teams with digital assets firms among their sponsors.

According to a report by Racing News 365, during the F1 French Grand Prix weekend held recently, eight of the ten participating teams with digital currency partners were forced at short notice to take legal advice as to what is permitted by the Autorité des Marche Financiers (AMF)—France’s financial market regulator.

These teams all have digital assets firms as part of their sponsors. A few staff members, including Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and Alpine, sponsored by Vauld and Floki, Fantom digital ecosystem, and Binance, opted to remove or cover up their sponsors’ branding.

Similarly, the F1, the organizers of the event, did not also display the logo of their global partner Crypto.com for the same reason.

Meanwhile, due to the vagueness of the AMF’s rule, other teams, including Mercedes (sponsored by FTX), Aston Martin (Crypto.com), Ferrari (Velas network), Red Bull Racing (Bybit and Tezos), and McLaren (OKX and Tezos) opted to still sport their sponsors’ branding.

A spokesperson for Mercedes told the news outlet that it chose to ride with its sponsor’s logo following clarification that Velas Network does not provide services that fall under the purview of the AMF.

“Velas Network AG informed us it does not provide services that would require registration with the [AMF] and therefore there is no advertisement prohibition with respect to the use of the Velas logo on the Scuderia Ferrari assets within the scope of the French GP,” the person said.

France still struggling to provide regulatory clarity for digital assets

The AMF has banned the marketing and advertising of digital assets since 2018. However, the complication comes from the regulator’s definition of digital assets, which is still unclear.

Other products and services that France prohibits from being advertised include tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. Regulators in many other countries, like the U.K. and Singapore, also have similar rules for marketing and advertising digital assets.

France, meanwhile, has been making proposals to clarify its standing on digital assets regulations—giving it an even higher priority than the launch of a CBDC. The European Union member has been recently urged by an outgoing lawmaker to proceed with introducing swift digital assets laws and not wait on the unified regulations alone.

Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention panel, Blockchain for Government Data & Applications

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