Blockchain in France: A Primer on an Emerging Market
Alexandre Stachtchenko is president of blockchain association La Chaintech and the co-founder of Blockchain Partner, a firm created by the merger of two French startups: Blockchain France and Blockchain Lab. Blockchain Partner offers blockchain consultation services in France.
In this opinion piece, Stachtchenko provides an in depth overview of the blossoming blockchain scene in France, arguing that now is the time to take official engagement in the tech to the next level.
How well does France perform in the blockchain field? It is an interesting question to raise when speaking about the country that represented the third biggest world presence at the CES 2017 in Las Vegas, just behind the US and China, and the second in terms of startups.
This article aims to present a quick panorama of the French blockchain situation.
Public authorities: Between consultation and experimentation
As of today, the French government has shown some interest in the technology, without yet having launched major initiatives in that field. Its main initiative was taken in March 2016 by the Ministry of Economy, when a decree was passed, based on crowdfunding laws, to allow debt-based instruments (mini-bonds) to be issued on a blockchain. If this first step is a success, the ministry envisaged “introducing this type of regulatory framework, for example, for unlisted securities”.
Several banks have already communicated some positivity around related projects, such as BNP Paribas along with the startup Smart Angels.
On the parliamentary level, an entire day dedicated to blockchain technology was organized in March 2016 at the National Assembly, with the participation of French blockchain startups (such as Blockchain Partner, Stratumn and Paymium), large companies (such as AXA and La Poste) and universities, researchers and public authorities. This was followed by another parliamentary forum in October 2016.
More recently, the Public Treasury has launched a public consultation to gather ideas on how to boost blockchain development in France. In May 2017, France Stratégie, the French Prime Minister’s cabinet for national strategies analysis, held several hearings on blockchain issues such as legal and social issues or regulations.
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