Are blockchains regulated in France?
What is a blockchain pursuant to French law?
According to French public authorities, blockchain is a "method of recording continuously produced data in the form of blocks linked together in the chronological order of their validation, each of the blocks and their sequence being protected against any modification". This blockchain "is used in particular in the field of cybercurrency, where it fulfills the function of a public register of transactions" (Lexique de l'informatique, OJ 3 May 2017).
What is the regulation in France of blockchains?
Blockchain poses many legal challenges, particularly in terms of evidence, but specific regulation is considered at this stage by French authorities as premature or inappropriate.
Piecemeal regulations already exist, such as the Ordinance of December 8, 2017, which adapts French law to allow the representation and transmission of certain financial securities via a shared electronic record device (DEEP, in English, distributed ledger technology or DLT), i.e., the blockchain technology of certain financial securities.
DEEP can be defined as "an innovative computer technology that allows network participants to validate exchanges and transactions between several participants by consensus without involving a central body. It could find numerous applications, in particular for the recording of transactions taking place on the financial securities markets" (French Treasury)
This Ordinance also allows for the pledge of securities registered in a DEEP.
The French PACTE law establishes a legal framework for token issuance using blockchain, notably by introducing an optional visa for the information documents of project holders wishing to raise funds by issuing tokens.
French legal texts governing blockchain:
- Monetary and Financial Code, art. L. 54-10-1 et seq. L. 211-3 et seq., L. 223-12