Wine, Cheese and Cryptos

A glimpse at AML & Cryptoassets in France

To everyone’s knowledge, the French nation is passionate about good cheese, excellent wine, well-being, and quality of life in general. The country is known for its traditional systems, arduous changes in structures and heavy bureaucracy. In contrast, Cryptoassets have come along with a new attitude to money and thus the financial environment is rapidly changing. This article aims to provide insights into how the French market approaches this challenge and what the French think about the challenges that Cryptoassets bring about.

A. A Country Perception of Crypto Money

Cryptoassets are perceived as a profitable investment thanks to results achieved by Bitcoin and Ethereum, the media’s attention and the trending popularity on social media. As a result, Cryptoassests have become very attractive for the investors who tend to play down the risk of the cryptoassets. The fact remains that these assets are highly risky and speculative, which can be demonstrated by the volatility of Bitcoin between January and May 2021, where the price hit a high of c.US$60k and a low of c.US$30k.

Another common view exists regarding the danger of Cryptoassets if used as payment for traffickers at one hand but acknowledges the technological revolution happening in the financial system. As for the former, during the years 2019 and 2020 a network financing terrorism in Syria operated in France. Funds were raised by the group via the purchase of Crypto-Currency coupons whose references were given to contacts in Syria and then credited to bitcoin accounts.

Investment moods into Cryptos within France can be best evidenced by a survey conducted in February 2021 by market research group Ifop. According to its results, 14% of the French respondents were ready to invest into Bitcoin or other Cryptoassets and 3% had already done so. Furthermore, the survey shows that Cryptoassets are primarily seen as speculation tool, rather than as a real exchange asset. Not surprisingly, it also highlighted that Cryptos are most attractive to the younger generation aged 18-25 years.