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Alternative Market Briefing

Other Voices: ICOs and digital assets: a new and optional legal regime in France

Thursday, May 30, 2019

By: Philippe Goutay, Linda Hesse, Jones Day

The Situation: ICOs and digital assets have become a new phenomenon that has impacted many aspects of our modern economies and created an alternative way of financing for start-ups or small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Result: These assets and transactions may lead clients or investors to face new financial risks that cross borders.

Looking Ahead: The French Parliament has adopted a law providing for an optional regime covering the primary and secondary markets relating to digital assets offerings and trading, leaving players with the option to benefit from a label for their activities.

On May 23, 2019, the Pacte Law relating to the growth and transformation of companies was enacted under n°2019-486. The French government, through its Ministry of Finance, along with the French Treasury and the Autorité des marches financiers, was willing to provide a legal framework for new activities relating to tokens and digital assets, which have significantly grown in France. While an ordinance dated December 8, 2017, has provided for a statutory regime for unlisted securities to be registered and transferred using a distributed ledger technology, French authorities were also aiming to regulate both the offering of tokens (excluding security tokens) and certain services on digital assets (including tokens). This new initiative follows Italy, which enacted in early February 2019 a set of rules establish......................

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