Faustin Fleur is the President and Managing Director of ADAN. This association brings together digital asset and blockchain professionals in France and Europe. Its members carry out a wide range of activities: markets, storage, payments, management, analysis tools, project and user support, and IT security. Thus, ADAN, which includes 200 member companies, is a voice that spreads in the cryptosphere, thereby bringing its experience to both the French and European level.
European regulation of MiCA is a much debated issue regarding the regulation of digital assets. The final vote before adoption has also been delayed, as it should take place as early as February 2023. What is your overall opinion on this regulation aimed at providing a solid legal framework for cryptocurrency markets in Europe?
MiCA will create a single European regulation for the crypto asset markets. This is good news, because today each member state of the Union has its own rules of work. In this way, MiCA will facilitate the development of business in Europe, provide it with legal certainty and create more fair conditions for competition.
In the future, when a French company registers with the AMF, its compliance with the rules will be recognized in all member countries of the European Economic Area: this is the principle of the European passport. Thus, a single legal framework will allow these players to expand their activities internationally much more easily than before.
Among other positives, the ban on issuing or providing services on proof-of-work blockchain networks did not hold up after the debate ended. Instead, digital asset issuers and service providers (DSPs) will need to provide their customers with information about the impact of the cryptocurrencies they issue or the services they provide to those assets in the future. This is a concrete and constructive way to engage companies in the fight against global warming.
However, I have reservations on other issues. For example, the regime applicable to stablecoins is extremely strict. The rules are disproportionate for new entrants who would like to issue stablecoins in Europe. It is likely that the fall of the Terra LUNA ecosystem greatly influenced this decision.
Also, while MiCA should not cover NFTs in principle, the sector is concerned about the scope of this exemption as so-called major series and collections of NFTs were reinstated to its scope at the last minute. But MiCA is not that car.
European supervisors will need to work on the classification of NFTs to provide a clear but sufficiently detailed legal basis for this very heterogeneous asset class.
Let’s not forget that behind MiCA, several texts at different levels will complement this regulation. This is a job that will take months, or even years!
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It looks like France played a leading role in the development of MiCA, can you confirm?
Quite right. The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of the year was aimed at reaching political agreements on MiCA before the end of this period, which lasted until 30 June. Therefore, it is clear that with regard to crypto assets, our country wants to be at the forefront of the debate. In the near future, the government will study several main topics that will later serve as the basis for European regulations: the impact of crypto assets on the environment, decentralized finance, NFTs, etc. The French have a desire to play a leading role in creating crypto regulation in Europe.
This position was recently reaffirmed by Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who in a recent interview indicated his desire to make France the European center of the crypto asset ecosystem. But if promoting France’s attractiveness to foreign players is critical, be careful not to neglect to support the growth and competitiveness of our domestic industry…
What will be the main challenges for ADAN in 2023 or even beyond?
There is so much! But if we were to touch on a few main topics, I mean all the support work that we have to do with the government regarding the file related to the impact of crypto assets on the environment. Mention should also be made of the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, the debate on which at the European level is less developed than on other topics.
It is also necessary to maintain a whole dialogue with the traditional financial system, and I mean here, in particular, banks and insurance companies, which still treat the world of crypto-assets with a certain suspicion.
Next year, the senatorial campaign will also mobilize ADAN to tour France to discuss with candidates, promote the French nuggets that are developing in the territories (and not just in Paris) and ensure that senators are aware that industry brings dynamism and jobs . to their department.
The sector is still far from being fully structured and our role is to promote this topic to promote the economic opportunities associated with the development of the industry.