EMBARGO 9am Paris time, June 8
France should recognize decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in its legal system, a leading lawmaker said in a report published Wednesday, hitting out at European crypto regulation whose approach, he says, has largely been defensive.
Pierre Person, an outgoing member of the National Assembly who penned a landmark and largely positive 2018 report on crypto regulation, now says banks should be fined if they refuse to serve crypto clients, and has proposed a ban on crypto mining based on fossil fuels.
“The European Union has not adopted a clear strategy regarding crypto-assets,” Person said, contrasting the bloc’s stance with U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent executive order, and China’s banning of private crypto as it seeks greater control over its people.
“The European Union is hesitating, groping, trying without much conviction,” he said. “Europe’s postures are more defensive than proactive regarding the new challenges.”
That follows a turbulent few months which nearly saw bitcoin-style proof of work technology banned outright, lawmakers threatening new identity checks for transactions with unhosted wallets, and crypto markets condemned by European Central Bank officials as a “Wild West” and “Ponzi scheme.”
In 2018, Person, a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party, authored a report that was adopted by France’s lower house which called for an easing of tax rules for crypto, as well as boosted regulation of the then-popular initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Now, he feels the world has moved on.
“In 2018, no one could have foreseen the developments in a sector that only let us see on the surface simple promises on projects that were often shaky,” he said, calling for a “paradigm evolution” to give DAOs – the bodies which develop applications in decentralized finance (DeFi) – legal recognition alongside other corporate entities, and also give new legal status to NFTs.
Read more: ECB’s Panetta Blasts Crypto as ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Fueled by Greed
Traditional banks should stop seeking to “denounce and hinder” DeFi rivals, and crypto miners ought to be encouraged to use renewable energy as the bloc seeks to cut carbon emissions, he said – a proposal that appears to echo recent controversial measures taken in the state of New York.
Some in France hope the country can become a crypto hub, and exchange Binance has already registered there. With legislative elections looming, Person himself won’t be a lawmaker for more than a couple of weeks, but his message for his successors is clear.
“Political will is the most precious thing,” he said. “ At the time of writing, the evidence is simple. We lack it.”
Read more: France’s Presidential Candidates Ignore Crypto Issues