Representatives from the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency economies presented their cases before the French Senate.

The hearing, chaired by Philippe Marini — whose other functions include membership in a joint fact-finding mission with the EU to determine government roles on the Internet — featured representatives from the Bank of France, the French Ministry of Finance’s money-laundering department, and many others.

Gonzague Grandval, whose company Paymium operates a Eurozone Bitcoin exchange and payment processor, spoke on behalf of Bitcoin.

As with the hearings that have taken place in senates and parliaments around the world, the ostensible purpose was to determine what risks unregulated digital currencies presented.

Here are the highlights from the hearing, as translated on Reddit by /u/mmitech, /u/Schlagv and /u/bitcoin-artist:

  • Bitcoin represents sufficient innovation that it could not be made illegal.
  • Chairman Marini seemed open and welcoming toward any new technologies.
  • The anti-money laundering officials said they had tracked the currency since 2011.
  • Negatives such as volatility were not dwelled upon too much.

This hearing’s outcome paralleled to a large degree the hearings held in Washington last fall in that officials concluded they would simply be keeping an eye on things.

Much of the confusion and hesitation may simply stem from a lack of understanding on the part of lawmakers, as noted in the Reddit threat when it became clear senators could not grasp fully the idea of a decentralized currency.

Perhaps governments have realized they cannot make pronouncements on technology too early on without conjuring up “a series of tubes” memes and undermining credibility.