AMF sets regulation plans for cryptocurrencies in France

27 February 2018

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the stock market regulatory body in France, has ruled companies using cryptocurrencies must abide by certain rules.

The decision comes after an analysis of the legal qualification of cryptocurrency derivatives, which the AMF carried out following a rise in the number of online trading platforms offering binary options, CFDs or Forex contracts with an end-of-day maturity, where the underlying is a cryptocurrency.

During the recent study, the AMF looked at the legal qualification of the notion of ‘derivative’ in the context of cryptocurrency derivatives, as well as whether a cryptocurrency can be legally regarded as an eligible underlying.

The regulator noted that the notion of ‘derivative’ is not defined in European Union legislation as such and within the MiFID framework, EU lawmakers only set out a list of derivatives followed by a list of eligible underlyings.

As a result, the AMF has now concluded that a cash-settled cryptocurrency contract may qualify as a derivative, “irrespective of the legal qualification of a cryptocurrency”.

Online platforms active in France that offer cryptocurrency derivatives must now ensure that they comply with the authorisation, conduct of business rules, and the EMIR trade reporting obligation to a trade repository.

In addition, such products are subject to the provisions of the Sapin 2 law and the ban of advertisements for certain financial contracts.

Related article: France enforces advertising ban on forex, binary options