Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, expressed his “total and determined support” to the new industry during an official breakfast meeting with French entrepreneurs, French Bitcoin news site bitcoin.fr reported on Tuesday.
“I was a neophyte a year ago, but now I’m passionate,” Le Maire said. “It took me a year. Let us teach our fellow citizens to make France the first place of blockchain and active crypto innovation in Europe.”
Nous ne raterons pas la révolution de la #blockchain !#Cryptoactifs, #bitcoin, #ICO, #fintech … La France veut être force de proposition pour construire le monde de demain ! 🇫🇷🚀
Ma tribune sur @Numerama👇#G20Argentina https://t.co/uOG3th2Pry
— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) March 19, 2018
Regarding specifics, he favours taxation based on a “single lump sum”, although he didn’t rule out exempting exchanges from taxation, and he believes that ICO evaluation needs to be professionalised.
Le Maire had made negative comments about cryptocurrency in the past. In January, he hired a former Bank of France executive to lead a group to study cryptocurrency, saying: “We want a stable economy: we reject the risks of speculation and the possible financial diversions linked to bitcoin.”
At the G20 meeting in March, France and Germany together called on countries to jointly regulate Bitcoin
At a New York event organised by Coindesk called Consensus 2018, US lawmakers said that their aim is not to suppress the industry, according to the related coverage by Coindesk.
Consensus 2018 is the media outlet’s fourth annual blockchain summit. It was held at the Hilton in New York this week.
Speaking at the event were James McDonald, enforcement director of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Robert Cohen, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division Cyber Unit, Sujit Raman, Associate Deputy Attorney General US Department of Justice, and Kiran Raj, chief strategy officer of cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex.
The following comments were reported by reporter Nikhilesh De. It should be noted that the government representatives all said that their views do not necessarily represent those of the agencies for which they work.
McDonald said: “Our mission is to foster financially sound markets, and we understand as a regulator that requires a certain amount of [flexibility] in our approach. We’re doing it in a way that doesn’t hinder innovation and doesn’t interfere with other regulatory priorities.”
This is a different tack to his comments in January of this year when he affirmed the commitment of his agency to prosecute those that used cryptocurrencies to engage in fraud.
Cohen said: “The SEC has been open about meeting with people from the industry, to come in and meet with the staff, to talk about the ideas you have, the new developments, and have a dialogue about the new technology. The commission encourages ways to raise capital, we don’t regulate the technology – we regulate the financial industry and the markets.”
We last reported on Robert Cohen last month, when the SEC busted Centra Tech for its fraudulent ICO.
Raman said: “The number one priority for the Department of Justice is to keep people safe. One concern we have for the larger virtual currency space is large sums of money are flowing through the market without touching financial institutions … From a national security perspective or an anti-money laundering perspective, that’s something … we have to investigate. As with anything else, it’s a balance but it’s certainly one of our priorities, to know what’s going on.”