Crypto

Why AMF Wants to Reward “Responsible” Crypto Influencers

AMF wants to extend the “responsible” influencer certificate to finance and cryptocurrencies during 2022.

Hasheur, TefeurS, Caroline Jurado… More and more crypto influencers have emerged in France for several years, sometimes followed by hundreds of thousands of followers.

Some just popularize the cryptocurrency ecosystem, others give advice on investing in cryptocurrencies. However, many questions arise when an influencer posts a message on social media: Is their identity transparent? Is there a potential conflict of interest? Does he really understand the financial or cryptocurrency ecosystem? Is his point of view sincere or does he seek to deceive his goal? Indeed, while the cryptocurrency ecosystem is gaining momentum – 8% of the French have already invested in cryptocurrencies in 2021 – not everyone has a benevolent approach, some sometimes try to deceive their audience.

Protect investors

For an internet user who wants to know how to invest in crypto assets, just like for a brand looking to partner with a trusted influencer, it can be difficult to know how to tell the difference between benevolent and malicious crypto influencers. In 2021, the Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority (ARPP) introduced a “responsible influence certification” noting that “more than 1 in 4 submissions were not transparent about commercial collaborations.”

“Influencer is aware of ethical rules and current legislation”

“The ARPP Ethical and Responsible Influencer certification assures advertisers that the influencer is aware of ethical guidelines and applicable laws regarding social media promotions (including environmental, health, beauty, food, gambling). etc.) and that it is transparent to its audience regarding its commercial collaborations” can be found on the organization’s website.

In particular, after completing an online module on these topics, the influencer must validate their certificate by answering a questionnaire and receiving at least 75% correct answers.

It can be seen that the number of influencers (whose names are visible on the site) who received such a certificate increased dramatically between 2021 and 2022. But this certificate, which covered many areas of the economy (fashion, beauty, luxury, etc.) does not currently apply to the financial sector.

This will be resolved during 2022/2023. Indeed, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and ARPP have announced that they want to extend this certificate to finance and, in particular, cryptocurrencies.

“Both agencies are planning a Financial Sector-Specific Responsible Influence Certificate module launched by ARPP in 2021 to educate best practices and regulations applied in this area. field. (clear, accurate and not misleading information, in particular, about risks, an indication of the paid nature of the publication or possible conflicts of interest, etc.),” the joint press release emphasizes.

The finance module will be based on the generic ARPP model. The site mentions that the certificate allows you to make sure that the influencer has completed a course of familiarization with the organization’s “deotonological recommendations”, as well as proving his good knowledge of the subject that he affects in his community.

The site specifically mentions the 2017 Financial Services Guidelines, which refer to the ICC Advertising and Commercial Communications Code of the International Chamber of Commerce.

“Thus, advertising promises for products or services within the scope should in no way: minimize risk, depict the use of such products or services as a game, or draw an analogy between gambling and products or services covered by this Recommendation.” , can be read.

By contacting BFM Crypto, some crypto influencers with a strong community have confirmed that they will naturally follow the process of obtaining such a certificate.

The certificate will not allow you to sell financial products

This certificate, which gives a certain amount of credibility to the influencers, but in no way confirms their content, is reminiscent of AMF BFM Crypto. It will also prevent influencers from selling financial products to their clients. Therefore, it should be clearly distinguished from AMF certification, which allows finance professionals to sell financial products to their clients.

In October last year, the AMF already made recommendations for investing in social media.

“In general, AMF encourages investors to obtain information from reliable sources before making an investment decision, and in particular advises novice investors to gradually build a culture of the stock market and be wary of unrealistic promises. Quick, easy and risk-free wins,” the post reads.

The AMF questions here above all the skills of certain influential people.

“Faced with a resurgence of investment advice or marketplace advice from social media influencers, AMF’s Department of Investor Relations and Investor Protection (DREP) is calling for vigilance: it is wise to question the financial skills of these individuals presenting themselves as experts, sincerity and disinterested the nature of these prescriptions, the compensatory nature of which is not always clearly indicated,” we could also read.

Despite the future implementation of such a certificate, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) remains competent when it comes to sanctions against powerful persons in the case of derivatives.

The organization’s investigation, among other things, resulted in the payment of a €20,000 fine by influencer Nabilla Benattia-Vergara for “misleading commercial practices” on social media (promoting a trading education website on Snapchat in 2018), accompanied by measures by advertising. .

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