The French council of ministers has approved a series of new measures to combat the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions. Anonymous accounts are banned at crypto exchanges which must now impose stricter know-your-customer requirements. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says the changes are necessary to fight against terrorism financing.
France Tightens Crypto Surveillance
France’s Council of Ministers endorsed an ordinance containing a series of measures to tighten the surveillance of cryptocurrency activities last week. The ordinance, which will enter into force in six months, was submitted by the French Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, along with ministers Sébastien Lecornu and Olivier Dussopt.
La Maire tweeted Wednesday: “We must dry up all the terrorist financing circuits for the smallest euro … we presented to the Council of Ministers this morning an order making it possible to strengthen the fight against the anonymity of crypto-asset transactions.” According to the press release issued by the three ministers:
This ordinance strengthens the fight against the anonymity of transactions in digital assets by including digital asset service providers … among the entities having the ban on keeping anonymous accounts.
The ordinance’s measures will be specified in the upcoming decrees to be released this week, according to local media. All French cryptocurrency exchanges will be required to equip themselves with a more rigorous know-your-customer (KYC) system.
Crypto exchanges will have to request two proofs of identity from their customers from the first euro spent, instead of the previous 1,000 euro minimum limit. The ID requirements will be a SEPA transfer accompanied by an identity document. In addition, all exchanges, including those that do not offer fiat trading pairs, will need to register with an administrative body, likely the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), France’s financial markets regulator.
However, the new requirements raise concerns that non-European customers will be unable to register on French cryptocurrency exchanges because they do not have a European bank account, thus depriving French startups of participating in the global crypto market.
“We are aware that this reinforced identification penalizes companies,” a ministerial source was quoted by the Capital publication as saying. She added that “The decree will therefore come into force in the spring” so companies have several months to comply.
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