France’s financial markets regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), on Thursday accused several online platforms of encouraging retail investors to trade highly speculative virtual coins, and warned traders to resist their promotional offers.
While the crypto assets have grown in popularity, European regulators have become increasingly concerned that inexperienced traders suffer heavy losses on the underlying and derivative markets.
In a stinging statement, the AMF warned the public against unauthorized cryptocurrency firms, by adding a dozen websites to its list of companies illegally providing investment services to domestic clients.
The list of providers that was published includes the following domain names:
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The regulator has been quite active in policing crypto activities, and in addition to such warnings, it announced back in February that it is prohibiting the advertising and distribution of cryptocurrency derivatives.
The well-known details about the full advertising ban on certain offerings are all in place, but the update notes that promoting cryptocurrency derivatives demands that brokers that are offering such products must comply with a set of regulations.
In addition, the AMF requires brokerage firms to seek approval from the regulator prior to offering such contracts and adhere to good conduct.
New taxing approach
But in April, the French government has announced a tax reform plan, which reduces the tax rates on revenues generated by cryptocurrency transactions, and cut the high-band rate from 45 percent to 19 percent.
The stimulative effects of the tax cuts come as France changed the classification of bitcoin and its ilk, which currently fall into the “moveable property” category, meaning that it is subject the flat tax of 19 percent on capital gains. Before that, cryptocurrency gains were considered “industrial and commercial profits” while occasional transactions constituted as “non-commercial profits.”
Back to the warning, the AMF said that the full list of unauthorized sites such as those described above is available on the regulator’s website. It also emphasized that these domains may change very quickly and that the list is not meant to be exhaustive.
Any financial intermediary offering or recommending investments must be on the list of financial institutions authorized to do business in France, as can be verified via www.regafi.fr. A list of authorized intermediaries in additional investor advisor categories can be accessed at orias.fr/search.