French Blacklist of crypto asset and atypical investments

The website Ethereum News posted an article about a French Blacklist of Crypto traders, as published by the AMF on June 20 2018.

The communication of the AMF – Financial Markets Authority – the French equivalent of the SEC – is in fact not limited to crypto-currencies, but concerns “atypical investments” in general, in particular forex, binary options, and miscellaneous “investment goods”. Brokers of such goods or assets must receive an agreement to advertise their services in France, in the form of a registration number from the financial market authority,   and this number must appear on all their public documents.

The blacklist concerns services that do not comply with the law, despite previous warnings from the AMF.

Interestingly, the regulation is not particular to crypto-assets, and crypto-assets are not the primary target of this regulation. Crypto assets are not even used as examples. However, the regulation targets ANY operators that do not comply with the AMF prior agreement, and therefore, brokers of crypto-assets can be subject to this regulation. As a consequence, almost half of the blacklist concerns crypto-brokers.

Explanations:

The AMF has published a blacklist of websites operating illegally in France and offering “investment goods”, which is the category into which crypto-currencies and assets fall by default. “Investment goods” (“biens divers”: literrally “miscellaneous items”). In 2017, a law was taken as a consumer protection measure against investment offers that were too good to be true. The law applied to “investment diamonds”, “solar panel sollicitation”, offers to invest in forests and rare woods…. and  is extended to any offer to purchase an “item” with a promiss of high – unusual – return.

Here is a partial translation of the AMF post of June 20:

  • The AMF regularly publishes the list of Internet sites and entities offering in France, without having the right to do so, investments in the foreign exchange market (Forex) or via binary options. AMF also publishes the list of sites offering to invest in various goods, such as diamonds, without respecting the regulations in force. (….)
  •  → LINK: The black list of sites offering to invest in various investment goods (diamonds, wines, crypto-assets, etc.)
  • Be careful, this list may not be up-to-date because new unauthorized operators appear regularly.
  • If a site offers an investment in “investment diamonds” or any other atypical investment under the regime of “various investment products” (wine, renewable energies, exotic forests and wood, manuscripts, etc.), you must verify that it possesses a registration number that must appear on the information document for investors.
  • The list of sites with a registration as an intermediary in “investment goods”  is available on the AMF website. It is updated regularly:  this list does not constitute in any case a recommendation of the AMF to invest; the offers in diverse assets remain very risky investments.
  • (…)
  • The AMF answers your questions To find out if the service provider is authorized to offer financial products or services, you can also inquire on our website www.amf-france.org or contact the team of AMF Epargne info service Monday 01 53 45 62 00 to Friday from 9h to 17h.

 

  • Atypical investments: advertising requires a registration number.
    Posted on June 14, 2017 // AMF

Since May 17, 2017, the supervisory and supervisory powers of the AMF on atypical investments (diamonds, wines, solar panels …) have been strengthened, under the so-called “Sapin II law”, to better protect the public:

  • Proposals for investment in “alternative” or “atypical” investments such as rare metals or wood, works of art or even “investment diamonds” are exploding on the internet. They point to the possibility of a high financial return, but do not rely on financial instruments. These so-called  “atypical investments” generally fall under the definition of “various goods or assets”.

Now, any such transaction cannot be advertised without prior grant of an agreement and a registration number by the AMF/Financial Markets Authority. This registration number must appear on the investors information document. 

In practical terms, a company wishing to market such investment services must file a request with the AMF. The AMF will check  elements such as the organization of the company, the reputation of its managers, their skills, their experience but also the presence of sufficient guarantees adapted to the nature of the transaction (expertised/certified valuation of the items…). 

Note that a company does not have the right to offer you an investment in various goods, for example investment diamonds, without having a registration number with the AMF.

So, before making any investment decision, check that the company proposing to invest has its registration number on the information document. If not, do not proceed with this proposal.

Link to the AMF post (in French)

Link to the article on Ethereum News

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