French regulator grants its first approval for an initial coin offering

A French company has been granted permission to conduct an initial coin offering (ICO) by the country's top finance regulator.

In a December 19 statement, the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF) said that it granted its first-ever such approval to a firm called French ICO, explaining: "The PACTE law has indeed introduced in France an optional visa regime for fundraising in crypto-assets. Only public offerings of so-called utility tokens, which are not considered as financial instruments, are eligible for this optional visa."

According to the company’s website, the public offering conducted by French ICO will take place between March 1 and June 1, 2020. 


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France’s initial coins offerings regime was created in April after the introduction of the PACTE Law, which aims to simplify financial procedures for well-funded, fair, and innovative companies. The new policy made it possible for token issuers to request AMF approval for ICO visas. 

To be considered, applicants must create information documents in accordance with the AMF’s current regulations and implement a system that allows for the monitoring and safeguarding of assets raised via the ICO. They also have to demonstrate their ability to comply with existing anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws. 

According to the AMF’s press release, seeking approval is optional, which means that ICOs that do not go through the process are not necessarily illegal. Moreover, approval is only granted to the ICO and not the issuer, the agency says, and approval does not imply endorsement.

"The AMF visa does not in any way constitute an assessment as to whether or not it is appropriate to participate in a token offer," the regulator said. "It means that in the context of this public offering of tokens, the issuer has provided the minimum guarantees required by law and that the white paper is complete and understandable to investors."

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Yilun joined The Block in November 2019. She has a policy background and extensive experience in reporting and writing. She has worked on stories ranging from business to politics.