French Senate Conducts Bitcoin Hearing
The French Senate has conducted hearings on the state of bitcoin and other digital currency options. Several speakers stated their cases on whether or not they support bitcoins.
Co-founder and CEO of Paymium Gonzague Grandval, spoke on bitcoin’s behalf at the hearing. Grandval’s company operates Bitcoin-Central, a bitcoin exchange and payment processor for Eurozone customers who welcome the digital currency.
The hearing was held on January 15th, and was conducted by Philippe Marini, of the UMP political party. Other high profile representatives included the Bank of France, the Treasury Department, the Ministry of Finance’s anti-money laundering arm Tracfin (Traitement du renseignement et action contre les circuits financiers clandestins), DNRED (National Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations) and FING (Fondation Internet Nouvelle Génération).
The objective of the hearing seemed to focus more on the risks and obstacles of the “unregulated currencies”, and how the world outside of the digital spectrum of things would react to digital exchanges.
Reddit users mmitech, Schlagv and bitcoin-artist watched a live broadcast of the events and uploaded short summaries of the outcome. Here are some of the highlights dicussed:
- The French Senate view digital currencies as a form of competition between powerful economies like the USA, Germany and UK. France sees digital currency as way to catch up to those economies.
- Making bitcoin illegal is not an option. It would cause more harm than benefit. However, the French representatives don’t fully know how to utilize it yet.
- Committee Chairman Marini was open to new information and did not show bias against bitcoin, and thinks France should embrace and welcome new technologies.
- The Committee apparently misunderstand the idea of a decentralized/distributed system like bitcoin, asking “Who owns the protocol?” and portrayed their inability to grasp that the answer was “No-one”.
- The head of anti-money laundering arm Tracfin said they have been watching bitcoin’s progression since 2011, and are “ready to catch the bad guys”.
- While negative points like volatility, investment hazards and use for unlawful activities was mentioned, it was not a focus of the hearing to make bitcoin look bad.
Overall, the hearing got through to some who had uncertainties of bitcoin, and bticoin supporters were able to get their points across.
BTC Oracle’s Adrien Lafuma stated that the French Senate would rather regulate bitcoin than to do away with it. Lafuma was also curious as to how taxes would be calculated tracked and detected through use of digital currency. Bitcoin is seen more than just a popular fad, using 15 minutes of fame. However, acknowledgement of bitcoin as a major currency is not fully received by the Banque du France. Though there is doubt from the bank, they realize time and experience with bitcoin has the potential to sway their take on it.
Grandval realizes France is trailing behind Germany in utilizing the bitcoin, and France doesn’t want to fall further behind.
It has also been said that Europe will from its own bitcoin foundation.
Similarly to the United States, France wasn’t close minded to the potential adoption of bitcoin, yet they need to know more about the ins and out of handling them. Although no guarantees were made, it seems realistic that France will join the bitcoin party.
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