Amid the current pressure on so-called “finfluencers,” who promote investment products in their blogs, France is taking a step toward outright licensing them. The country has introduced a non-obligatory Responsible Influence Certificate.
As revealed on Sept. 7, two French regulatory agencies, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP), have jointly set up a training module for influencers in the financial sector.
The “Responsible Influence Certificate” has existed since 2021, when it was first introduced by the ARPP. Over 1,000 French influencers have obtained it. Now the certificate will have a special course for financial influencers, advertising equities, bonds, exchange-traded funds, funds, derivatives and other investment products, including even wine. Crypto assets are also mentioned in the announcement.
To pass the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising, one would have to obtain a minimum of 75% correct answers to 25 multiple-choice questions. While the certificate doesn’t hold the status of an obligatory legal document, the ARPP would be able to withdraw it from non-complying influencers. Moreover, to obtain the Responsible Influence Certificate, one would first have to get the “General Certificate,” developed by the ARPP for all influencers.
In May 2023, the French Senate approved an amendment allowing registered cryptocurrency companies to hire social media influencers for advertising and promotional purposes. At the same time, in the United Kingdom, regulators warn influencers that their promotions could be an offense punishable by up to two years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. And the European Consumer Organisation has lobbied for a total prohibition on advertising crypto for influencers.
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