French lawmakers have recently agreed to loosen the rules related to a proposed bill which would regulate the use of influencer marketing by cryptocurrency companies. In its initial form, the bill restricted influencer marketing to only licensed crypto firms. However, no such licensed firms currently exist in France. On May 25th, a revised version of the bill was approved, now only requiring crypto companies to be registered with the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) in order to utilize influencer marketing.
There are approximately 60 crypto firms registered with the AMF, and none have taken up the optional licensing. Specifics of the final bill have not yet been published. The restrictions aim to regulate promotion by influencers across several industries, with penalties for non-compliance including up to two years imprisonment, fines nearing $322,000, and the potential banning of the influencer activity.
Supporters of the bill argue that it creates a more transparent and accountable space for consumers while critics argue that it may hinder the growth of the crypto industry in France by making it more difficult for businesses to communicate with their customers. Furthermore, such regulation could lead to accusations of government interference and censorship of information.
In addition to cryptocurrency promotions, the revised bill also imposes restrictions on influencer marketing for nicotine products such as vapes and prohibits the advertisement of sports betting and gambling products to minors under 18 years of age. The French Senate’s Committee on Economic Affairs approved an amendment earlier in May, allowing AMF-registered crypto firms to engage in influencer marketing.
Overall, the new regulations raise concerns about the balance between consumer protection and enabling businesses to communicate effectively within the crypto market. While providing legal clarity and consumer protection, it may also inadvertently stifle the industry’s growth and innovation. Regulations like these invariably lead to discussions surrounding the impact of government intervention in the rapidly-evolving cryptocurrency space – can these ever-changing technologies be effectively governed without stifling their development?