French government announces new cryptocurrency regulation working group

French government announces new cryptocurrency regulation working group

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The French government has set up working group to examine cryptocurrency regulation in the country.

The working group was announced by the Bruno Le Maire, the French economy minister, in a speech on Monday, where he spoke about a desire to prevent ‘misuse’ of cryptocurrencies through regulation.

Nominating former deputy governor of the French central bank, Jean-Pierre Landau, as lead for the new working group, the minister said new guidelines were necessary to limit the risks of cryptocurrencies, as well as cracking down on potential criminal misuses.

“We want a stable economy. We reject the risks of speculation and the possible financial diversions linked to 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,” Le Maire said.

The decision to establish the new working group comes a matter of weeks after Le Maire raised cryptocurrency regulation at the most recent G20 summit, and comes alongside a pledge to further highlight the need for regulation at an international level.

At the time, Le Maire suggested that G20-wide regulation may be more effective in regulating cryptocurrency markets.

“There is evidently a risk of speculation. We need to consider and examine this and see how…with all the other G20 members we can regulate Bitcoin,” according to the minister.

The news comes just 24 hours after a similar suggestion from a director of the German central bank, Joachim Wuermeling, who was quoted as saying international regulation would be required to control cryptocurrency markets.

“Effective regulation of virtual currencies would therefore only be achievable through the greatest possible international cooperation, because the regulatory power of nation states is obviously limited,” Wuermeling said.

After significant speculation and volatility into cryptocurrency markets over the last few months, regulators globally have stepped up efforts to introduce regulation at a national level.

Meetings between authorities in South Korea, China and Japan have also been held, to discuss a regional harmonization of cryptocurrency regulations, although regulation in the region remains patchy and variable for the time being.

It remains to be seen whether the French working group will deliver new national regulations for France, and whether calls for an international regulatory consensus are able to get off the ground.

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