French Regulator Launches ‘UNICORN’ ICO Support Project

The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), France’s financial regulator, has launched a new initiative focused on initial coin offerings (ICOs) as it looks to formalize a regulatory framework for the blockchain use case.

The AMF announced today a two-prong effort around the funding model, a move that comes weeks after the agency’s head, Robert Ophele, said that officials were moving quickly to develop regulatory position.

In today’s disclosure, the AMF said that it is considering one of several approaches, including an update to existing rules to account for ICOs or entirely new regulations around the use case. Further, the agency said it may issue a best-practices guide for potential organizers. Before it makes its regulatory decision, the AMF is soliciting consultations from the public, with the agency accepting submissions until Dec. 22.

Perhaps more notably, the AMF also unveiled a new program, dubbed “UNICORN,” which is aimed at providing a mechanism for ICO organizers in France to carry out their plans under the agency’s guidance.

The AMF said in a translated statement:

“Called UNICORN (for “Universal Node to ICO Research & Network”), this one, in parallel of the reflection on the possible tracks of regulation, aims at offering to these carriers of projects a frame allowing the development of their operations and to ensure the protection of actors and investors wishing to participate.”

The effort is also, in part, a bid to boost the AMF’s institutional knowledge around the tech. The agency said that it would tap participants to help it “deepen its legal and economic expertise.”

“The AMF also intends to encourage academic research on this subject and will publish a first impact analysis of these new forms of financing within one year,” the agency added.

With the move, France’s government appears to have adopted a more accommodative stance toward the blockchain use case, even going as far as to proactively encourage developer teams to get in touch. This approach has recently been seen in countries like Canada, which has given regulatory approval to two ICOs to date.

Editor’s Note: Some of the statements in this report have been translated from French. 

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