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French Senate holds bitcoin hearing

16 January 2014  |  4277 views  |  2 Paris - Eiffel tower

The French Senate gathered virtual currency market participants and regulators yesterday for a hearing on how the country's authorities should approach the likes of bitcoin.

The Senate Finance Committee hearing - which can be viewed online - gathered representatives from the treasury department, Bank of France, customs, the New Generation Internet Foundation, and bitcoin exchange Paymium.

According to a summary of the hearing posted on Reddit, while some concerns about money laundering and volatility were raised, the tone of the meeting was generally positive.

The committee, chaired by Senator Philippe Marini, and speakers dismissed any concerns that bitcoin could be outlawed and instead indicated that a suitable way of regulating and taxing it now needs to be hammered out.

In neighbouring Belgium, the Belgian national bank and the country's financial markets association have issued a joint statement warning about the risks of using the crypto-currency. The statement echoes sentiments expressed recently by other national regulatory bodies across Europe.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Wells Fargo has hosted a meeting of bankers, government representatives and virtual currency specialists to work out the "rules of engagement" for bitcoin, according to the FT.

Wells Fargo is reportedly interested in dealing with bitcoin but has been put off by concerns about its regulatory status, particularly in relation to money laundering.

The bank's AML chief Jim Richards has formed a group that will try to work out how it can offer bitcoin-related services and deal with firms connected to the currency.

One virtual currency it will not have to worry about is Coinye West. The currency had been set to launch on 11 January but has now been canned after rapper Kanye West filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against its creators, prompting them to declare "Coinye is dead. You win, Kanye."

Comments: (2)

Jan-Olof Brunila
Jan-Olof Brunila - Swedbank - Stockholm | 17 January, 2014, 10:43

If banks deal with Bitcoins I guess the normal Know Your Customer controls will apply including Anti Money Laundry and Anti Terrorist Financing checks + the customary audit trail requirements. What rules apply if other parties than banks deal with Bitcoin as payment means? If no rules apply to non-bank providers of Bitcoin and other such solutions - why are banks committed to uphold KYC/AML/ATF rules for any payment means?

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Bo Harald
Bo Harald - ZEF and Real Time Economy Program - Helsinki region | 19 January, 2014, 20:26

The most elementary level playfield principle means that we would have to pay for two payment systems instead of one. Dead on arrival..

 

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