an evolution of its position on cryptocurrencies

The Davos Economic Forum in 2018 was an event in which Bitcoin and the crypto industry were the target of particularly strong criticism from the most important figures in the political and economic world. Emmanuel Macron was no exception to the general consensus and came out in favor of strict regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Meeting between Emmanuel Macron & Mark Zuckerberg, Source: Christophe Petit Tesson/AP/SIPA

Four years later, while the crypto industry is not ready to disappear and is gradually imposing itself on the general public, the position of the candidate for his own succession to the Elysée on the subject has changed? Emmanuel Macron has undoubtedly become aware, like many of his contemporaries, of the many advantages offered by blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. As a result, it is no wonder that these technologies are now included in his electoral platform. Among Emmanuel Macron’s many statements on the crypto sector, two particularly caught the eye: that relating to a European metaverse and, unsurprisingly, that of regulation.

The creation of a European metaverse

During a press conference organized on March 17, 2022, Emmanuel Macron had for the first time mentioned the idea of ​​a “European metaverse” and pleaded for cultural and informational independence. However, the goal of the metaverse is the creation of a borderless and decentralized world, which seems to be the exact opposite of what Mr Macron wants. The Secretary of State for Digital, Cedric O, thus provided the following details to BFMTV:

“The project is not to create a public metaverse, but to support certain underlying technologies, starting with graphics engines. For example by creating European competitors to American engines UnrealEngine and Unitythe most used in the video game industry.”

Mr Macron once again took up this idea during an interview with the media The Big Whale. Its objective would be to make Europe a central player around the development of web3, without depending on the major European or Chinese players, contrary to what has happened until today. The construction of this European metaverse would also be a means of mastering and promoting cultural and creative content. Mr Macron also noted that he wanted to see cultural institutions develop a policy around NFTs.

According to the economist Pascal of Lima, this project lacks realism, however, especially in the face of the main problems facing society as a whole, namely the erosion of purchasing power, employment and economic recovery. He adds that it is also necessary to consider the impact of the project on social cohesion and the risks of disconnection from reality.

Skepticism over crypto industry self-regulation

Mr Macron also wants to create an environment that promotes the development and financing of start-ups as technological mastery becomes an issue for Europe beyond financial innovation. However, he notes:

“…I don’t believe in a self-regulated financial sector. It would be neither sustainable nor democratic. It is up to the public authorities to define the right conditions to allow the sector to develop with confidence while encouraging innovation.”

In this context, Emmanuel Macron believes that the application of uniform standards at European level will make it possible to set up a unified market and is in favor of rapid progress on the MiCA (Markets in crypto assets) bill. On this point, he insisted on the fact that France will remain attentive that the bill does not hinder innovation and remains as neutral as possible in terms of technology. In the same vein, the outgoing President also wishes to advance work on the digital euro as quickly as possible.

Although he mentioned the “buzz” terms of the cryptosphere, namely NFT, metaverse and web3, Emmanuel Macron did not make it clear what his position was on crypto-assets, namely Bitcoin, Ethereum and others. He seems to want to focus on innovation so that France becomes a “start-up nation”, a nation at the forefront of technological change.

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