Cryptocurrencies: a First AMF-Approved ICO

FACTS

  • The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF – French financial markets regulator) just granted their first approval for a fundraising transaction involving crypto-currencies.
  • Goal: enable approved companies to promote their ICOs and market these operations directly to investors and the general public.
  • French-ICO is the first FinTech to be granted this approval: their crowdfunding platform focuses on crypto-assets related projects.
  • This start-up was established in 2018 and relies on the Ethereum Blockchain to set links between project holders interested in carrying out funding rounds and French or international investors.
  • For their application to be approved, French-ICO had to draft an information document (white paper) regarding their tokens and project. They also implemented a service for tracking and storing digital assets.
  • Ambitions:
    • Raise from €100,000 to €1 million
    • Market and boost their project
    • Be regarded as “legitimate”: key requirement for assisting future project holders and investors.
  • Interested investors will be able to purchase tokens from March 1 to June 1, 2020.

CHALLENGES

  • Favourable regulatory context. This operation stems from the French PACTE law whereby a specific regime for ICOs was introduced. Since its adoption in April 2019, companies may request a label from the AMF to legitimate cryptocurrencies-based funding series. AMF-approved companies will be the only entities entitled to promoting their offers to the public. Non-AMF-approved/labelled ICOs will still be legal.
  • More security for investors. This approval is meant to set a legal framework for Initial Coin Offerings. As more scams keep surfacing, it would act as a guarantee for investors, a way to ascertain the project’s trustworthiness.
  • And another approval in the making. By way of further expanding their approval services, the AMF is also working on another approval for platforms acting as intermediaries on secondary markets where already issued tokens are exchanged. This status called PSAN (Prestataires de services d’actifs numériques for Digital Asset Service Providers) will be applicable in some cases.

MARKET PERSPECTIVE

  • The crowdfunding platform French-ICO has already been granted support from the BPI to boost their innovative offer.
  • Several companies may soon be granted AMF approvals, as well. As for the PSAN status, the AMF says that roughly 50 companies have already applied.

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