France, a start-up nation »? Who still believes that? National Education sclerotic with mediocre school results, policies that no longer listen to professionals in the field (in all fields), a heavy and penalizing administration for entrepreneurs: how can bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies clear a path in such a context? After having missed many technological shifts, will the French political class also make us miss the blockchain revolution?
French administrative and tax burdens
In France, we have people who are brilliant, who have innovative ideas, who do not count their hours to create a business. Unfortunately, the administrative and tax burdens, the lack of audacity of our politicians, even their incompetence, are a major brake on the country’s economic growth. And this is even more true in the field of cryptocurrencies. For example, Paymium, a French cryptocurrency platform, has never been able to have a long-term French banking partner and, although it was born in 2011, it is only ranked 155th in the Coinmarketcap ranking, although far behind FTX (2019) or Crypto.com (2016). French legislation is so complex that the help messages on the forums are very numerous, as can be read on the famous bitcointalk.org forum, so it’s no wonder that brilliant French entrepreneurs choose to go abroad.
French politicians still in the rearguard
With incredible assurance (or incredible arrogance?), French politicians have a mania for always wanting to regulate everything, which is cross-border, even global. While we had already missed the turn of the Internet by continuing to adore the Minitel God, Sarkozy himself was a “nerdy” figure at the G8 by wanting to regulate the Internet. In 2009, it is also under his mandate that Hadopi was born to fight against illegal streaming and which will be very expensive (82 million euros in 11 years) for almost zero results (87,000 euros in fines).
France and its digital and technological fiascos
We could cite so many examples of other technological failures, which do not bode well for the development of cryptocurrencies in France. The list is of course not exhaustive:
2005 : Dailymotion, called at the time “French nugget”. It could have competed with YouTube and become the world’s leading online video sharing interface. Bad management, lack of means, injection of public funds, a local fiasco told on Youtube.
2016 : Bankruptcy of Viadeo, a French-style social network. A bankruptcy that would cost nearly 20 million euros to the French. It will be the American LinkedIn which will impose itself on the French market.
2016-2018 : the attack alert system (SAIP) set up after the Bataclan attack is a fiasco. Between false alerts and late alerts, the Minister of the Interior decides to do without. Now, alerts are relayed by Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Launched in October 2020, Salto is the French streaming platform. Wanting to compete with Netflix, Disney +, or Amazon Prime Video, the cumulative losses already exceeded 72 million euros in mid-2021.
2016-2021 : Scribe, another digital fiasco: the software which was to facilitate the administrative life of our national police cost 12 million euros. He wanted to be modern and intuitive, he drove the police crazy. A new call for tenders will be issued for new software by 2024. The French police are desperate to be able to work on computer tools worthy of the 21ᵉ century.
2020 : The StopCovid application downloaded by barely 3% of French people is another good example of the nullity of the “start-up Nation”. Cost: 6.5 million euros.
2022 : SNCF Connect. Another fiasco that benefits its competitor Trainline (+28% customers, +50% tickets).
The French political class and the “funny business” of cryptocurrencies
As we have just seen, in a country which is not even capable of offering reliable and worthy of the name software to its police officers, how can we hope that the leaders can understand the stakes of the technological revolution in walking ? Non-exhaustive overview of some of our politicians.
In general, the French political class does not seek too much to understand the world of cryptocurrencies. She remains on her positions: bitcoin (BTC) is, in essence, linked to money laundering and crime in general. (Although the currency most widely used by criminals is the dollar and money laundering exercised primarily by banks). We sometimes perceive, all the same, a little lucidity.
Emmanuel Macron: Regulation and control
Jean-Luc Mélenchon: the crypto casino
” This is not a particular subject for us. We are not going to create a particularly favorable tax framework for cryptocurrencies and cryptoassets, as proposed by other candidates. It has no economic interest and does not produce wealth. »
Bruno Le Maire: Cryptos and terrorism
“Cryptocurrencies pose a real terrorist financing problem, I have been saying this for years. »
Marine Le Pen: regulation
The RN candidate thought in 2016 that she could ban bitcoin (BTC). Today, regulation seems to him more useful (and more feasible) to avoid “out of control” traffic.
“Yes, probably, I will have to think about the regulation of cryptocurrencies, because money is really an absolute tool of sovereignty. »
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (DLF): Cryptos and tax evasion
The party of Nicolas Dupont-Aignant also wishes “ensure the traceability of the cryptocurrencies necessary for taxation so that everyone pays a fair contribution and that international tax evasion, already massive, does not increase further “.
Anne Hidalgo (PS): Harmonized European regulation
“It is necessary to join forces in a community framework, on the scale of the European Union, for the digital transition. An efficient and prosperous common market presupposes the harmonization of national legislation and the adoption of a European regulatory framework for the management of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. »
“We cannot miss the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution that challenges public authorities. It is both an opportunity and a threat for States to be dispossessed of their sovereign functions in favor of foreign companies. »
Philippe Poutou (NPA): Quotes to remember for posterity
“Criminals love cryptocurrencies. In 2021, the sums received by illicit addresses increased: the equivalent of 14 billion US dollars passed through addresses linked to illegal activities, against 7.8 billion in 2020. » (…) «Cryptocurrencies, under the guise of modernity, are an element of capitalist casino. In addition, they have a catastrophic ecological impact. “Mining” consumes a considerable amount of energy.» (…) «Cryptocurrencies are not progress from the point of view of the great mass of the population. Any provision aimed at promoting their use must be removed.»
Éric Zemmour (Reconquest!): Lucid
“[Il faut]put an end to the administrative hell for professionals in the cryptocurrency sector, in particular because of the European overtransposition“. (…) “We must put an end to these unequal regulations between countries, French blockchain startups are permanently disadvantaged in terms of taxation and standards compared to their competitors who are setting up in Estonia, Cyprus and Switzerland. This is not fair!»
Unfortunately, once again, France, and especially its political class, is still at risk of causing France to miss out on the technological revolution underway. At a time when American banks are doing everything so that their customers can buy bitcoins (BTC) easily and safely, some French banks refuse their customers a simple transfer to a legal cryptocurrency platform. Entrepreneurs who want to start acrypto businessend up giving up or leaving the country as the administrative and tax constraints are complex and often unrelated to reality. As for investors, they are heavily taxed on their capital gains when they manage to figure out how to declare them. We can only hope that the political class finish by listening to professionals in the sector.
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Subprimes, financial crises, galloping inflation, tax havens… Bitcoin was designed for more transparency and perhaps finally change the game. I try to understand this new environment and try to explain it myself. The road is undoubtedly long, but it is worth it.