French Finance Minister: Do your best to support blockchain technology innovation and let France take the lead

According to a report by Trustnodes on April 16, the French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire recently accepted an interview with the French Business Journal on the issue of blockchain and cryptocurrency. From the reply of the French Minister of Economy and Finance, you can feel France, and even the European Union. Positive attitude towards blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

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The following is the answer from the French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire on the issues related to the blockchain and cryptocurrency.

What role does the French government play in the deployment of blockchain strategies?

Bruno Le Maire: The French government's priority is to promote the development of the blockchain ecosystem, an important technology that has the potential to contribute to the modernization of French businesses and economies.

This is why the government needs to have an ambitious blockchain strategy.

Today, France has more than 200 blockchain innovations under development.

How much funding does the French government's blockchain strategy need?

In the next five years, France will invest 4.5 billion euros in breakthrough innovations, including blockchain technology.

Our goal is to make technology companies in France and Europe a world leader in technology so that we can compete with technology giants in China and the United States.

Blockchain technology is rapidly evolving. In order to allow France to quickly reach the forefront of the world in this field, we launched the “Innovation-Growth Competition” this spring, which is mainly used to support a series of innovative projects in the context of blockchain technology.

In addition to capital investment, what is the French government's blockchain strategic roadmap?

With the recent adoption of the Convention Act, we have adopted a number of important programs to promote the development of blockchain. We have established an unprecedented and attractive legal framework for the issuance of certificates and digital asset service providers in the Convention Act.

France also has a special tax and accounting framework that can accommodate cryptocurrency assets.

On this basis, we will immediately enter the second phase of the blockchain strategy, which aims to promote blockchain technology in all sectors of the economy.

Based on the work carried out by the government in recent months, we have finally identified several advantages in developing blockchain technology: deploying blockchains in the French industrial sector; funding blockchain innovation projects; assisting those who may encounter any problems In particular, blockchain projects that have problems with legal and regulatory issues.

All of the above plans will be implemented in the forefront of national technology, security and sovereignty issues by the end of this year.

How to explain the huge change in the attitude of the French government towards cryptocurrency assets in early 2018?

The French government’s attitude towards cryptocurrency assets has not changed. We have been implementing our established policy from the very beginning. In order to give blockchain technology an opportunity to coordinate and protect innovation, the government must not act as a stumbling block, as these new technologies are likely to create new, more efficient new services for consumers in the future.

But at the same time, we must also pay attention to the risks posed by the use of this complex technology and cryptocurrency assets, especially in money laundering or financing illegal activities.

Our initial goal was to create a legal framework so that our company could innovate while protecting consumers. But I believe that after the high volatility of cryptocurrency assets in early 2018, everyone realized the importance of the legal framework and the volatility of these new tools.

On this issue, I have contacted German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and the G20 Finance Minister. It was also during this period that I chose to commission Jean Poerre Landau to provide a comprehensive overview of the main issues posed by cryptocurrency assets, and the conclusions drawn from these issues inspired us to take action at the national and international levels.

France already has some good start-ups in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. Which companies have attracted your attention?

From new service companies to hardware to agreements, French companies have shown value in the entire value chain.

For example, Tezos, the project overcomes the known flaws of the public chain by developing a blockchain protocol. There is also Liquidshare, which aims to improve the access of SMEs to the capital market. There is also Iznes, which allocates fund shares through blockchains or ledgers, and has the potential to become France's first blockchain unicorn company.

Of course, there are many excellent projects outside of this. There are many talented entrepreneurs in France who are active in this field and the prospects for their projects are bright. I believe that France has the ability to build its own blockchain center on a global scale.

After more than a year of hard work, France has a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency assets. What is your comment on this?

The Convention Act, which was just passed last week, created an innovative legal framework for French issuers.

They can apply for a license or approval from the Financial Markets Regulatory Authority (AMF). Financial market regulators will also list a “white list” of approved projects and intermediaries.

France’s regulatory framework for cryptocurrency assets was completed at the end of last year, and the regulatory framework added measures for cryptocurrency asset accounting and tax treatment. As a coherent overall framework, it provides great flexibility to professionals and users while enhancing trust and transparency.

We are pioneers in this area, which will help us develop a strong blockchain ecosystem that produces high quality projects and a range of new products.

The main purpose of issuing financial market regulator licenses is to attract more blockchain projects that hope to raise funds through cryptocurrency assets. Recently, the number of first-time tokens (ICOs) has dropped significantly, so is it that the license is outdated?

The decline in the number of first-time token issuance is predictable, and this is necessary to clean up the market. But it is still a new type of financing method, and the decline in the number of tokens issued for the first time cannot erase its potential and advantages.

Second, the decline in the number of first-time token issuance does not mean a reduction in risk. The implementation of financial market regulator licenses will ensure that the French people have a certain degree of ability to prevent fraud and false information, which is unique in the world.

In the first reading of the Convention Act, the French depositary was designated as the last resort for entrepreneurs who were rejected by traditional banks. What do you think of this?

One of the most important factors in order to be successful in the cryptocurrency asset management framework set out in the Convention is to help some entrepreneurs obtain bank accounts, because these participants (many of which are innovative start-ups) face dealings with commercial banks. A lot of difficulties.

The solution for the first review of the French National Assembly was not satisfactory. It set a new task for the French depository, and since the French depository did not have any retail banking, the French depository was not able to handle the task. Therefore, this provision has been removed from the legal text and replaced by a new principle of providing access to bank accounts for entities that have been approved or financial institutions that have been approved by financial market funds.

For capital gains, taxes on cryptocurrency assets have been reduced to 30%, but in Germany, capital gains on cryptocurrency assets are tax-free after one year of holding. Is France really competitive in this regard?

Taxation is not the only factor in whether a country is attractive to cryptocurrency assets. Regulation is important, and even in the tax field, the clarity of the legal framework may be as important as taxation.

Reducing the tax on cryptocurrency assets is a strong expectation of the industry, and we responded. We will reduce the taxes and fees of cryptocurrency retail investors in the 2019 fiscal bill: on the basis of the existing annual declaration, we have cancelled the monthly declaration and reduced the capital gains tax rate from 36.2% to 30%. The cryptocurrency transaction provides an exemption.

Under the common law conditions, the purchase and resale of cryptocurrency assets in a professional identity is subject to taxation.

Does France have the opportunity to become a "crypto currency country"?

One of the main innovations that France implemented in 2019 was the waiver of taxes on transactions between cryptocurrency assets. It can make France quite attractive in investing in cryptocurrency assets.

Like traditional securities, the new regulations have greatly reduced the investor's declarative obligations.

Do you think that cryptocurrency assets and blockchain technology are two separate concepts?

These two concepts are linked from the beginning. Encrypted currency assets often rely on blockchain infrastructure, but the concept of blockchain goes far beyond the scope of cryptocurrency.

The application of blockchain is not limited to the financial industry, its goal is to develop in all industries. Any registry that involves a data security pool can rely on the blockchain for efficiency, speed, and security of execution. This is also the goal of our blockchain strategy, which is the new use of the development blockchain.

What do you think of Bitcoin?

One of the first traps we have to avoid is not to limit the blockchain to bitcoin. Bitcoin directly reflects the promise, vision and uncertainty of the blockchain. It is the only financial asset whose value has risen sharply in the last few months, and last year its price fell by more than half in just one month.

This illustrates the high volatility and uncertainty of Bitcoin. Therefore, we must be cautious in investing in such assets and provide investors with all the information they need to make the right decisions. This is the bottom line we must adhere to in the Convention: more freedom, greater transparency and more protection for investors.

Are you surprised when you notice that many Venezuelan people buy Bitcoin to protect themselves from the country's hyperinflation?

The situation in Venezuela is very special. The country's inflation rate reached 13.7 million in 2018 and is expected to reach 10000000% in 2019.

The Venezuelan people see Bitcoin as a safe haven. Despite the large price fluctuations in Bitcoin, it is still more stable than the price of Bolivar. At the same time, Bitcoin is also easier to obtain than other foreign exchange.

This explains why Venezuela's bitcoin trading volume has increased tenfold in a year. This phenomenon also proves that the cryptocurrency has gained the trust of some depositors.

The essence of blockchain is digital decentralization. In your opinion, is this a way to combat centralized Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple?

The transition to a deblocking system based on blockchain is a necessity.

Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (GAFA) have begun investing in blockchains. This is also the reason why France has a firm position on this issue.

Is the upcoming cryptocurrency of Facebook a threat to national sovereignty?

The blockchain does not belong to anyone.

We need to be careful to ensure that the use of blockchains is fully compliant with our standards of security, protection of individual rights and exercise of sovereignty.

French Congressman Pierre Person highlighted the benefits of a stable digital currency, especially as it establishes a direct link between the central bank and its citizens. Are you in favor of using encrypted euros?

This issue has been debated among academics, observers, and central bankers. In fact, such projects are not mature in the short term: the euro zone benefits from multiple payment methods, including numbers. The creation of public cryptocurrencies has also raised many unresolved legal and technical issues.

French House of Commons member Jean-Michel Mis believes that in the case of low energy consumption, we can use excess energy to benefit French cryptocurrency miners. What do you think?

Miners in cryptocurrencies use energy to secure transactions. In order to maintain the same level of security by reducing power consumption, protocols must evolve toward more efficient solutions. It also covers other aspects of ensuring the sustainability and acceptability of blockchain technologies, such as ways to improve consensus, governance and sovereignty, and interoperability and accessibility of applications.

From the French Finance Minister's answer, we can see that France is doing its utmost to support the development of blockchain technology, which makes France very likely to become a future blockchain power and power.