French finance minister voices support for blockchain technology

Maria Nikolova

Speaking at the opening of the second edition of the Paris Fintech Forum, Michel Sapin underlined that the Sapin 2 law paves the way for blockchain development.

It seems that the lens through which the financial services industry has thus far observed the “Sapin 2” law is deformed. The focus has been mainly on the ban on advertising of binary options and other risky financial products, as well as, stemming from that, the end of many (rather lucrative) partnerships between certain brands and football clubs.

Today, France’s finance minister Michel Sapin, the main proponent of the law in question, has managed to shift the attention to a different aspect of this piece of legislation, the fostering of fintech innovation.

Speaking at the opening of the second edition of the Paris Fintech Forum, Mr Sapin mentioned the development of blockchain technology and the relative legislative framework as one of the main tasks for the government.

He explicitly mentioned a part of the Sapin 2 law, known unofficially as the “blockchain article”. The text in question is Article 120, which allows the government to adapt the law in a way that authorizes the issue and transmission of certain financial securities like shares and bonds that do not circulate through a central depositary. The finance minister notes that these legal changes are to happen this year.

Michel Sapin is known as a supporter of blockchain and of virtual currencies. In response to a Tracfin report concerning virtual currencies, in July 2014, Mr Sapin stressed that they have numerous advantages. For instance, he noted back then, they allow execution of transactions at a lower price compared to traditional payment systems. He also underlined that Bitcoin, in particular, is based on an innovative technology permitting authentication of transactions in a credible manner, involving low costs.

France is amid the countries that are quite open to Bitcoin as well as the distributed ledger technology. Other countries, like Russia, have been warming up to blockchain technology but are still strictly against crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.

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