At the Paris Blockchain Week Summit, in an exclusive interview for Capital, a French economics and business magazine, Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Finance, expressed the government’s interest in Blockchain technology:
“The development of the blockchain ecosystem is a priority for the government: it is a potential technology that can contribute to the modernization of our businesses and our economy.”
After identifying more than 200 blockchain projects in the country, the French government is reportedly planning to invest around $5 million in breakthrough innovations. The idea is to win the race against Chinese and American companies that have been making substantial investments in various crypto-related initiatives.
The Minister was quoted as saying:
“To avoid wasting time, funding has already been proposed in the form of calls for projects. We have therefore launched the ‘Innovation – Growth Competition’ this spring, to support projects, particularly in the context of blockchain technology.”
Le Maire believes that important steps have been taken to encourage the development and adoption of blockchain technology in the nation. Just over four days ago, the Pact Act came into law after a final vote led by the French Parliament, allowing insurers to use cryptocurrencies for insurance saving funds.
According to the French Minister:
“We have put in place an unprecedented and attractive legal framework for token [issuance] and digital asset service providers in the Pact Act. We also have a tax and accounting framework adapted to the specificities of crypto-assets.”
The next steps in his agenda will be to implement the technology in the different sectors of the economy. He remarked:
“The work carried out in recent months with the entire ecosystem has identified several new areas: deploy blockchain in French industrial sectors; fund innovative blockchain projects; accompany and secure the project promoters in their questions, in particular legal and regulatory; to be at the forefront of technological, security and sovereignty issues.”
Mr. Le Maire has recognized the impact that tax burdens have on small businesses and has vowed to address these concerns in the Finance Act for 2019:
“We have eliminated the principle of a monthly declaration in favor of an annual declaration, lowered the capital gains tax rate from 36.2% to 30%, and provided for an exemption from crypto-crypto transactions.”
Notably, the French government is clearing the path to encourage innovation and development of blockchain technologies around the nation. Through a regulatory framework, it wants to become an attractive country for unique investment opportunities in crypto-assets. All of the planned actions that will cover most sectors of the economy will be put in place by the end of the year.