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Crypto Mom Warns of US Inaction as France Unveils ICO 'Talks'

Crypto Mom Warns of US Inaction as France Unveils ICO 'Talks' 101
Source: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

A commissioner at a top American regulator says that the country’s financial system’s reluctance to provide firm cryptocurrency guidelines is dangerous, and could lead to the United States falling behind other more pro-active nations. Meanwhile, France may be already attempting to steal a march on its international rivals.

Hester Peirce, a commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who has won the moniker “Crypto Mom,” said that “forfeiting innovation to other countries” is “one of the worries” that she has.

Talking onstage at the annual Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, on Tuesday, she also told Fortune’s Jeff Roberts that “regulators in other places [such as Singapore, Bermuda and Switzerland] have taken a different approach, and they’re seeing innovators come.”

Peirce stated, “As you can see with the way [American] guidance is trickling out, it takes us a really long time to make decisions. Regulators tend not to be that nimble.”

Instead, the SEC commissioner opined that a “safe harbor” approach would better suit the cryptocurrency market – referring to a scenario whereby crypto-companies would face reduced regulatory liability providing they meet certain conditions.

Peirce said,

“When I first started thinking about how securities laws apply to crypto, I thought we don’t have to do anything new. But as I’ve thought about it more, I do think a safe harbor approach may be the right approach in this space.”

Watch the whole discussion with Hester Peirce:

And Peirce’s fears may already be coming true in Europe. France’s financial watchdog is poised to approve a first tranche of cryptocurrency-related companies under new rules on digital coins, some of the first such regulations to be launched by a major economy, Reuters reported. The news agency quotes Anne Marechal, executive director for legal affairs at France’s regulatory AMF (Financial Markets Authority), as stating that the regulator is “in talks with three or four candidates for initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
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The same news outlet states the AMF is “also in talks with several other cryptocurrency exchange platforms, custodians and fund managers.”

The AMF is set to unveil a system whereby France-based cryptocurrency companies voluntarily pledge to adhere to capital requirements standards, consumer protection guidelines and commit to paying taxes in the country. In exchange, the AMF will grant compliant companies with official recognition.

Marechal stated,

“France is a precursor. We will have a legal, tax and regulatory framework.”

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Read more: The U.S. Losing The Race for Crypto Tech

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