French Crypto Regulations Tightened to End Anonymous Users

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  • French crypto regulations have been tightened as the country aims to end anonymous accounts
  • French crypto exchanges can now no longer offer accounts or send cryptocurrency to anyone who is not KYC/AML verified
  • It seems that private crypto wallet ownership will not be subjected to the same restrictions

The French government has followed through with plans to impose tough new cryptocurrency regulations which will ban anonymous exchange accounts. As we reported yesterday, an announcement about French crypto regulations was expected this week with exchanges expected to bear the brunt. This has indeed happened, with KYC/AML checks now required at all levels, but it seems that private crypto wallet ownership has not been impacted.

French Crypto Regulations Strengthened to Harm “Terrorist Financing”

Confirmation of the new French crypto law came via the desk of Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, whose office announced the new regulations late Wednesday. The communique began by praising the “significant opportunities for the economy” that digital assets bring, before soon turning to darker matters:

However, the dismantling, in France, last September, of a network of terrorist financing using digital asset transactions, recalls the existence of criminal embezzlement against which it is necessary to fight.

In response, French crypto regulations will now include more elements of existing financial law, “in particular assessment of…AML-CFT risks, customer knowledge and verification of beneficial owners, cooperation with intelligence services and asset freezing.”

According to the letter, these new rules will aid the government’s aims to “fight against anonymity transactions [translated] in digital assets while facilitating the identification of users.” What this means in practice is that French cryptocurrency exchanges will not be able to offer accounts to those unwilling to pass AML/KYC checks at the outset, and restricts the sending of cryptocurrency to unverified users.

These new French crypto regulations could also have a knock-on effect for exchanges that service French nationals, with the same restrictions potentially required for French users only.

Private Wallets Off the Hook

While the impact of the new French crypto regulations on exchanges is great, the situation for non-exchange users was better than expected – there was no overt reference to personal crypto wallets being subjected to AML/KYC regulations, potentially because of the difficulty in enforcing such a rule, although of course these may come at a later date.