French Financial Regulator Proposes Ban on Anonymous Cryptocurrencies

The head of the Finance Committee of France’s National Assembly, Eric Woerth, is suggesting a ban on anonymous cryptocurrencies, or so-called privacy coins. Woerth expressed his position in a recent report on crypto assets and blockchain technology.

In a forward to the report, Woerth considers the introduction of a ban on digital currencies that provide greater anonymity to users, stating:

“It would also have been appropriate to propose a ban on the dissemination and trade in [cryptocurrencies built] to ensure complete anonymity by preventing any identification procedure by design. [...] This is the case for a certain number of [cryptocurrencies] (Monero, PIVX, DeepOnion, Zcash...) whose purpose is to bypass any possibility of identifying the holders. To date, regulation has not gone that far.”

Apart from that, Woerth addresses possible problems associated with cryptocurrencies, including fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and energy consumption. “The distinction between the different uses of [cryptocurrencies] must continue, to establish a finer and more precise regulation protector of the general interest, as well as the private interest of the entrepreneurs of this domain,” the president purportedly added.

In April of last year, Japanese regulators suggested similar measures by preventing cryptocurrency exchanges from trading anonymity-oriented altcoins Dash (DASH) and Monero. “It should be seriously discussed as to whether any registered cryptocurrency exchange should be allowed to use such currencies,” said an unnamed member of the country’s regulator the Financial Services Authority.

Last December, the lower house of the French parliament rejected amendments to the 2019 finance bill which would ease crypto-related taxation. The parliament rejected four proposals in total, where one of the amendments proposed to increase the annual volume of transactions that falls under tax exemption from 305 euro (around $341) to 3,000 euro ($3,359), or even 5,000 euro ($5,599).

In 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would like France to become a "startup nation," France’s overall stance towards digital currencies remains vague. In November of last year, the country’s central bank refused to endorse a plan that would allow thousands of tobacco kiosks to sell Bitcoin (BTC) starting in January 2019.