French financial markets authority AMF warned about 15 unauthorized cryptocurrency investment platforms that target French investors. Despite the agency’s warnings, these companies were involved in financial operations and they marketed their services to the French public at large. AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers) is an independent agency, protecting France’s stock exchange and financial markets. Its primary mission is to make sure investors have complete access to material information regarding investment firms and their operations. The agency is tackling unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges, publishing a list of 15 websites which were inviting investors to invest in digital assets without authorization to do so in France.
Websites on the AMF’s Black List:
According to the AMF, the websites that it blacklisted are “unauthorized companies proposing atypical investments without being authorized to do so”. Here is the list:
Regulators address Investors
The agency has also notified investors about the Sapin II law, outlined for cryptocurrency investment companies. The cryptocurrency companies listed by the AMF are clearly not complying with this law.
A Word from Regulators
Regulators insist that prospective investors must learn as much as they can about the company or intermediary trying to sell them a product. They recommend looking at authorization/certification, company history, location of head offices and more. Furthermore, they recommend investing only in a product prospective investors would understand. French regulators are asking investors to demand key information from companies. In the regulators’ own words: “how, and by whom, the purchase price or selling price of the advertised product is set and find out the precise terms and timeline for selling the product, especially in cases where the product invests in an asset class with low liquidity.”
Approval Required to Get Off the List
To get off this black list, cryptocurrency platforms need AMF approval as per Law No. 2016-1691 of 9 December 2016. The law was drafted to prevent corruption, address the modernization of economic life (the “Sapin II’ law)” and to maintain transparency in France’s financial markets. Consequently, no offer [of miscellaneous assets] can be directly marketed in France without prior allocation by the AMF of a registration number.
Following in the Footsteps of Belgian Regulators
France and the AMF are following in the footsteps of Belgium’s FSMA (Financial Market Authority of Belgium) which also issued similar warning in February end 2018. It listed 19 exchanges showing suspicious patterns of behavior. As mentioned in FinanceFeeds, businesses should follow laws relating to cryptocurrencies. Investors must also know the Sapin II law speaks about strict prohibition of binary options and some CFDs from electronic advertising as well. Nevertheless, when it comes to cryptocurrencies, they will have to eventually deal with decentralized exchanges. It will be extremely challenging if not impossible for regulators to do anything about these, so the Sapin II Law might already be unenforceable in many cases related to cryptocurrency exchanges. Black list or not, the decentralized world can’t be censored, curtailed or stopped.