France to Explore Crypto Tax Treatment Next Year

The self-styled crypto hub won’t just copy and paste traditional finance norms, but Bruno Le Maire is also worried about energy consumption

AccessTimeIconOct 17, 2022 at 2:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 17, 2022 at 3:07 p.m. UTC

France will review its crypto tax rules next year as it seeks to become the world’s leading blockchain hub – and won’t seek to simply replicate existing norms for stocks, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told local media in an interview published Monday.

Le Maire told BFM TV he was concerned about crypto’s energy consumption, and about the potential of blockchain technology to usurp the role of France’s fiat currency, the euro.

“We want to make the European Union the world’s leading economic zone for structuring and organizing the crypto market,” said Le Maire. “We want France to be the European hub of the crypto asset ecosystem.”

The EU has just agreed to its landmark Markets in Crypto Assets law (MiCA), which allows crypto companies to operate across the bloc if they meet investor-protection and stability norms.

In recent months, a string of companies such as Binance and have registered with the French authorities under legislation which anticipates some of MiCA’s aims, but French lawmakers have protested the government is not doing enough to encourage Web3 entrepreneurs.

“We want to use the year 2023 to deepen our reflection with stakeholders in order to identify if new adaptations to tax legislation are necessary,” Le Maire said. “A straightforward alignment with the taxation of stocks is not necessarily a desirable goal.”

In other parts of Europe such as Germany, favorable tax policies have proved crucial to attracting crypto entrepreneurs – even if others such as Portugal, have lately had a change of heart and sought to put rates back up.

Le Maire also said he was working on a report on the environmental impact of crypto, and commended the Ethereum blockchain for its transition to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism that uses much less energy.

But he’s not willing to see major currencies like bitcoin (BTC) take over government’s currency dominance, nor will he let people pay taxes using crypto as has been put forward in Colorado.

“The idolatry of a world without the state, without the central bank, without borders and without money … would put our sovereignty in danger, but also above all the most vulnerable among us,” he said. “Our currency is the euro and having just one currency to pay taxes is a condition of our unity.”

Quotations have been translated from French.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.