French Parliament votes for stringent crypto licensing regime

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The French National Assembly has voted to enact stricter licensing rules for cryptocurrency service providers operating in the country in order to align local legislation with proposed European Union (EU) rules.

The motion, which has already been approved by the French Senate, received approval with 109 votes (60.5%) in favor while 71 members voted against it. The bill now goes the hands of President Emmanuel Macron, who has 15 days to either approve it or send it back to the legislature.

Once signed into law, the new regulation would do away with a grace period that the country offers to crypto platforms. At present, more than 60 crypto platforms are allowed to operate in the country without a full license until 2026, meaning they can provide their services with minimal checks. The new law would require firms to gain a full license from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), starting in October.

While it seems restrictive, members of the National Assembly adopted a softened approach to crypto licensing in the country, giving operators more time to meet new Europe-wide norms. The original amendment proposed by centrist politician Daniel Labaronne requires existing crypto firms to halt operations until they obtain a full license even before the European Union’s crypto regulations come into force.

The new crypto bill is part of a broader effort from French lawmakers to protect the financial system after the collapse of the FTX exchange.

The much-debated Markets in Crypto Assets bill, or MiCA, includes a 12–18-month adaptation period to prepare for the new laws set in place, which means that the laws could take effect in full at the start of 2024 at the earliest. The EU-wide regulatory framework will grant passporting rights for crypto firms working across the continent.

President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, also called for MiCA II to regulate activities related to crypto asset-staking and lending. The term refers to an additional legislation building on the work lawmakers did for the original bill.

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