France’s Financial Regulator Grants Country’s First Approval for an Initial Coin Offering

The hype around initial coin offerings may have quieted down in the States, but France seems to be taking a newfound interest. On Dec. 17th, France’s financial regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), granted the country’s first approval for an ICO application.

The offering came from French-ICO, a company that has developed a platform for funding projects using cryptocurrency. The firm is the first to be white-listed and a notice has been posted on the AMF website.

Reuters reported in July that the AMF was in talks with three or four candidates for ICOs and that more could soon be on their way.

While French-ICO is the first company to receive approval, this support will remain valid until the end of the subscription period, which is scheduled for June 1, 2020. The AMF website also notes that although approval is optional (ICOs are still considered legal in France without approval), only those public offerings that have received the AMF approval may be marketed directly to the public in France.

The AMF also explained that it has only approved the ICO proposal, not the token issuer. France’s primary regulator detailed that interested issuers could apply for only one ICO over a period that may not exceed six months.

France’s Definition of an ICO

According to the AMF website, an ICO may be defined as a “fundraising transaction carried out through a distributed ledger technology (DLT or “blockchain”) and resulting in a token issue.” The source notes that “these tokens can then be used to obtain goods or services, as the case may be.”

The PACTE law, which is France’s new law on business growth and transformation that was introduced in April of this year, included a specific regime for ICOs. The law noted that an optional approval would be given by the AMF, which is intended to promote the development of ICOs. The law points out that this does not apply to Security Token Offerings, but only to the issuance of utility tokens. Those who fail to comply with the new framework will face large fines.