Privacy-focused coins have long been controversial in the crypto world, as they have the ability to cloak a user’s identity and are the currency of choice among cybercriminals. It’s still under speculation as to how governments will deal with these types of coins, which have the potential to be used for tax evasion, money laundering, or other illegal purposes.
While governments cannot truly shut a decentralized, privacy-focused cryptocurrency down, they can issue bans and deem the crypto to be illegal. In regards to this, the Finance Committee of France’s National Assembly recently published a report on March 6 that covered crypto assets and blockchain technology.
Will France Ban Privacy-Oriented Cryptocurrencies?
In the report, the committee’s president Éric Woerth noted the challenges associated with cryptocurrencies for regulators and lawmakers, stating:
“We must be aware of the problems that [cryptocurrencies] can pose in terms of fraud, tax evasion, money laundering or fraud, or energy consumption.”
He then claimed it would be appropriate to issue a ban on activity relating to cryptocurrencies focused on increasing a user’s anonymity.
“It would also have been appropriate to propose a ban on the dissemination and trade in [cryptocurrencies built] to ensure complete anonymity by preventing any identification procedure by design. This is the case for a certain number of [cryptocurrencies] (Monero, PIVX, DeepOnion, Zcash…) whose purpose is to bypass any possibility of identifying the holders. To date, regulation has not gone that far.”
Overall, Woerth’s comments are quite vague and do not provide many details as to what or how privacy-focused coins would be banned. A worst-case scenario would be a proposal that bans people from holding or using privacy coins, or they could be less harsh and just ban exchanges in France from listing privacy coins.
All in all, Woerth’s suggestions are a long ways from becoming reality, and there will be a lot of controversy and backlash from the crypto community and privacy advocates surrounding this topic as it develops.
France Previously Encouraged the Development of Cryptocurrencies
This latest report by the Finance Committee of France’s National Assembly is simply outlining some early suggestions, and is in no way an official proposal to ban privacy coins.
In the past, France has encouraged the development of cryptocurrencies and even provided a favorable regulatory environment for ICOs and investors. At the head of these positive developments surrounding France’s positive take on the cryptocurrency industry is Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister.
At the beginning of 2018, Maire started a working group tasked to encourage the growth of cryptocurrencies and help regulators approach the industry in a friendly manner.
In addition to France’s finance minister’s positive take on cryptocurrency, President Emmanuel Macron has encouraged the development of emerging technologies such as blockchain.
The president was previously quoted saying:
“I want France to be a start-up nation. A nation that thinks and moves like a start-up. We must change our small-is-beautiful mindset. If an entrepreneur is successful, we are envious, we criticize and impose taxes on him. But successful entrepreneurs help others succeed.”
Do you think France will end up banning privacy-focused cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comment section below.