A French central bank governor pushes for cryptocurrency licensing ahead of EU regulations

The Bank of France’s governor, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, has called for more stringent license requirements for cryptocurrency companies in France, citing the current market turmoil. During a speech in Paris on Jan. 5, the central bank governor said France shouldn’t wait to enact mandatory licensing for local Digital Asset Service Providers (DASPs).

The Markets in Crypto Assets bill (MiCA) of the European Parliament(EP) provides a licensing regime for the European Union among other regulations and is expected to come into effect in 2024. At present, cryptocurrency businesses providing crypto trading and custody must register with the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), the country’s market regulator.

Licenses for DASPs are optional, and those who obtain them are required to adhere to many requirements regarding the business organization, conduct, and financial planning. Currently, none of the 60 crypto firms registered with the AMF are licensed as DASPs.

Villeroy’s call comes after Senate finance commission member Hervé Maurey proposed an amendment in December 2022 to remove a clause that allows companies to operate without a license. Current French laws allow firms to operate unlicensed until 2026, regardless of whether or not MiCA becomes law and establishes a licensing regime.  Parliament will begin deliberating the amendment in January. since September 2020, the MiCA has been making its way through the EU parliament.

As a result of trialogue negotiations between the EU Council, the European Commission, and the European Parliament, it was approved by the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) on October 10, 2022.

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