French lawmakers agree to loosen rules in proposed crypto influencer bill

French lawmakers have agreed to tone down the restrictions on a bill first proposed in March that would have severely restricted locally-registered cryptocurrency companies from using influencer marketing.

An earlier draft of the bill allowed only licensed crypto companies to engage in influencer marketing. However, while crypto companies are currently required to register with the regulator, none are currently licensed in France nor are they legally required to do so.

On May 25, the French Senate said it reached a unanimous agreement on a bill that aims to regulate promotions by influencers for a wide variety of industries.

The revised bill now only requires crypto firms registered with the Financial Markets Authority (AMF) — the nation’s financial regulator — to use influencers for their marketing efforts, according to French lawmakers Arthur Delaporte and Stéphane Vojetta in a statement.

The exact wording of the agreed bill is yet to be published.

Currently, there are roughly 60 crypto firms registered with the AMF, and none have undertaken the optional licensing.

Translated, Delaporte and Vojetta’s release said “only financial products and cryptocurrencies from players registered with the AMF may be promoted” and agents from the financial watchdog, along with the regulator for consumer affairs would “have their control capacities strengthened.”

Penalties for failure to comply with the laws include up to two years imprisonment and a 300,000 euro ($322,000) fine, along with the possibility of banning the influencer activity.

Related: France mulls fast-tracking registered crypto firms to new EU rules

Influencers’ promotion of other products has also been restricted, including nicotine products such as vapes. A prohibition on showing sports betting and gambling products to those under 18 years old would also come into effect.

The agreement comes as earlier in May, the Senate’s Committee on Economic Affairs approved an amendment that allowed AMF registered crypto firms to undertake influencer marketing.

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