France could allow influencer crypto ads

However, only licensed firms will be able to pay influencers for advertising, if the law passes the senate.

French senators are close to allowing social media influencers to promote products of registered cryptocurrency firms.

The plan, passed in committee and set to be discussed in the senate plenary next week, would permit crypto firms to pay for publicity via online influencers – if they are registered with, or licensed by, regulators.

The senate's proposal appears to be less restrictive than that of their counterparts in the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament, who voted in March to effectively ban crypto ads by social media stars.

The National Assembly took a tougher line, saying that influencers should only be allowed to promote products from crypto companies that have a license from the French Financial Markets Authority. In practice, very few have.

However, dozens of companies – including Binance, Bitstamp, and eToro – have registered with the regulator, confirming they meet money laundering and governance regulations and norms.

Tougher rules coming

The proposed bill aims to tighten up registration conditions in preparation for the coming Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation, which sets tougher rules for stablecoin issuers, wallet providers, and crypto exchanges inside the European Union.

MiCA aims to establish a licensing procedure for operating crypto exchanges and assets in Europe and is expected to start in 2024.

Industry lobby group, ADAN, tweeted on May 3 that the committee's stance was encouraging. The group has previously expressed concern that the National Assembly's position could harm France's aspiration to be a crypto hub.

Growing regulatory trend

This move by the French Senate could be seen as a positive step for the French influencer and cryptocurrency markets. But, the proposal must pass through the full Senate in a plenary meeting before it faces approval by the National Assembly.

Several countries, including Australia, the UK and South Korea, are currently developing legislative frameworks to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies, while criticism has been directed at the US for falling behind with such legislative efforts.

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Written by Silvia Pavlof

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