The new president of the AMF promotes assets of the tokenization for the traditional financebut also distinguishes it from the digital asset industrycalled upon to demonstrate its utility.
“Technology blockchain is a priority for us to enable the development of an innovative ecosystem,” declared the president of theAMF, Marie-Anne Barbat-Layaniat the opening of the Fintech Forum.
This priority applies to the transformation of traditional financial securities as well as digital assets, i.e. cryptocurrencies. The Autorité makes no secret of its preference for traditional finance, its “historic core business”.
Perception of crypto radically different
To experiment in this sector of finance, Europe has set up the pilot scheme. This framework authorizes tokenization thanks to an implementation date of March 2023. Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani praises its “resolutely pro-innovation character”.
Companies are being encouraged to take advantage of it, which they are still slow to do, admits a senior manager at the Banque de France, referring to a “diesel” start to this pilot scheme. Nonetheless, tokenization is very popular, and is being favorably received by the authorities.
Crypto-assets, or digital assets, are receiving a cooler reception. The crypto world and its perception “have changed radically in a year”, stresses the head of the AMF. The collapse of FTX raised many questions.
Now, questions are being asked about terrorist financing circuits, she points out. The links between crypto and terrorism have been brought to the fore again by current events in the Middle East.
And for Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani, it’s a subject that will be worth looking into in the very near future. Tougher regulation is on the horizon. But for the CEO, other obligations await the crypto world.
Crypto must prove its usefulness
According to the AMF, the crypto world is expected to demonstrate its ability to comply with regulations. The AMF adds another prerogative: “to further demonstrate its economic and social utility”, and this on four dimensions.
The first is crypto’s contribution to the economy and job creation. With the bear market, the trend is for jobs to shrink, as illustrated by Coinhouse in France. In 2022, it raised 40 million euros. One year later, it is shedding a third of its workforce.
The president of the AMF also wants crypto to demonstrate its contribution to the financing of companies and the economy.
We are a little disappointed, at this stage, by the lack of development of ICOs, on which so many hopes were based”, she reacts.
The third indicator: the contribution to the world of investment and investor protection. An increasing number of investors are turning to the AMF’s complaints department.
Nor will crypto escape contributing to the environmental transition. More investment is needed to finance this transition.
The crypto world cannot remain on the sidelines”, especially as the environmental impact of its technology “is being questioned”.
MiCA approval: not all PSANs will succeed
Compulsory approval for PSANs from December 2024 is only part of the answer. The European MiCA regime “is a prerequisite for restoring the confidence of investors and savers”.
In the space of three years, the AMF has registered almost a hundred PSANs, for a single approval (SG-Forge). This trend is set to accelerate in 2022, with registrations set to double.
If we look reality in the face, this ecosystem is at a regulatory crossroads,” says Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani.
MiCA approval is “an important step to take”, and “frankly, we’re not sure that all AMF-registered players will have the means to take this step”.
However, they will have to do so, by the end of June 2026 at the latest, for PSANs serving exclusively French customers. The AMF and ACPR will support them in this step, deemed “crucial to investor protection”.
Protection is “the poor relation of regulation”, laments the AMF Chairwoman.
Investor protection, the poor relation of regulation
Still on the regulatory front, changes are afoot, as François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France and Chairman of the ACPR, mentioned earlier.
With MiCA 2, “which more and more of us are calling for”, the authorities want to deal with crypto conglomerates and DeFi. In France, a working group on DeFi is being set up.
But when it comes to decentralized finance, or disintermediated finance as the BdF governor prefers, international cooperation is needed, notes the AMF Chairwoman.
The AMF took part in the work of IOSCO, whose report is open to consultation. The report makes 9 recommendations.
Once finalized, these recommendations should provide, as they did in their time for crypto-assets, a clear and consistent regulatory approach to be implemented globally in the various jurisdictions for these decentralized finance activities.”
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