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French lawmakers to lighten rules in proposed digital currency influencer bill

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French lawmakers have agreed to expand influencer marketing of digital currency products to a broader range of service providers following widespread criticism of the first draft bill.

The new amendments will allow registered digital asset service providers to enlist the services of influencers and celebrities to promote their offerings to the general public. An official press release confirmed that the senators reached a unanimous agreement to amend the draft proposal, but the bill’s wording is still subject to speculation.

In the original bill, only licensed digital asset firms were allowed to use influencers for promotion, posing several distinct problems. The most glaring challenge is the fact that France does not have a single licensed digital currency exchange in the country, effectively precluding the use of celebrity promotion across the industry.

Firms with registration with the country’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF) will be allowed to engage the services of influencers for marketing. Currently, there are around 60 firms with registrations with the AMF, with firms not legally bound to seek licensing.

“Only financial products and cryptocurrencies from players registered with the AMF may be promoted,” read a joint statement from French lawmakers Arthur Delaporte and Stephane Vojetta.

The bill has been hailed for its innovativeness in controlling the actions of influencers across several industries. While the French parliament is particular about celebrity influence in financial markets, the bill extends to gambling and nicotine products.

“This text is unprecedented because it is the first in Europe to legally define the activities of commercial influence and influencer agent,” Sophie Primas, head of the Economic Affairs Committee, said. “In the Senate, we are proud to be, once again, at the forefront of the regulation of a digital economy that must be promoted, supported, but also supervised.”

Regulators focus their cross-hairs on influencers

Regulators worldwide are wary of the threat posed by influencers and are scrambling to establish guardrails over their activities in financial markets. U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a seven-part checklist to guide influencers in promoting digital currency products in partnership with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Several influencers have triggered the ire of regulators, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian while others are facing class-action lawsuits from aggrieved investors. Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and ex-NBA star Paul Pierce are embroiled in a legal drama over their promotion of the Ethereum Max (EMAX) project to investors.

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