France’s Crypto Advertising Debate: Senate Favors Lighter Restrictions on Social Media Promotion

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As French lawmakers continue to grapple with the issue of cryptocurrency advertising on social media, the nation’s Senate and National Assembly are at odds over the extent of restrictions to be imposed. The National Assembly seeks to ban social media promotions for crypto companies effectively. However, the Senate’s Economics Committee has prefers less restrictive measures.

Senate’s Economics Committee Proposes Milder Regulations

Recently, the French Senate’s Economics Committee has proposed allowing social media influencers to promote products from registered cryptocurrency companies like Binance. This stance contrasts with the National Assembly’s position, which had called for an effective ban on crypto ads by social media influencers in March.

The amendment, which has been approved by the Committee and is scheduled for discussion in the Senate plenary next week, would permit crypto firms to pay influencers for publicity. That is, provided they are registered with or have a license from the appropriate regulatory authorities.

Aligning with the French Consumer Code

According to an explanatory note by lead lawmaker Amel Gacquerre, a member of the Centrist Union party, the Senate’s proposal aligns the bill with the existing French Consumer Code. The proposed legislation also targets influencers promoting cosmetics and gambling.

The National Assembly, however, had previously taken a more stringent approach. It stated that influencers should only be allowed to promote products from crypto companies with a Financial Markets Authority license. In practice, no firm has obtained such a license. In contrast, numerous companies like Binance, Bitstamp, and eToro have successfully registered with the regulator. As such, they meet the required money-laundering and governance norms.

For the bill to become law, the Senate and Assembly must agree. Industry lobby group ADAN, which has previously expressed concerns that the Assembly’s stance could hinder France’s ambitions to become a cryptocurrency hub, has welcomed the Senate Committee’s position as “encouraging.”

Preparing for EU’s MiCA Regulations

In addition to the ongoing debate on social media advertising restrictions, French lawmakers have also been working to tighten registration conditions in preparation for the European Union’s upcoming Markets in Crypto Assets regulation (MiCA). 

MiCA aims to impose stricter rules on stablecoin issuers, wallet providers, and cryptocurrency exchanges operating within the EU.

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