In the French blockchain and crypto ecosystem, many admit to being afraid of the government’s vision on issues that are both technically complex, but also with a contrasting reputation.
Some mistakes made in the past, missed opportunities, remain etched in the memory of the ancients, even if the latter only aspire to be wrong. Even today, despite the stated ambitions of making France a “Blockchain Nation”, the divide with the government remains difficult to close, both a little by protest principle, but also because of the potential for misunderstanding on a sector still too little known.
However, within the executive, at the heart of parliamentary assemblies, there are those who clearly see the potential of blockchain and the tokenization of the economy for the Nation. These are fighting tirelessly for France to be the leader in the discovery of this new continent, already widely surveyed by other great powers.
Have you always dreamed of having the vision of a parliamentarian on the blockchain? Cryptocurrencies serves it on a platter!
Jean Michel MIS, the Crypto-Deputy
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome for an exclusive interview, Jean Michel Mis, Deputy of Loire, co-rapporteur of the fact-finding mission on the Blockchain and co-founder of the French Federation of Blockchain Professionals (FFPB).
Hello Mr Deputy, how did you get into the Blockchain domain?
To put it simply and not to lose your readers unnecessarily, elected in 2017 deputy, I chose to sit on the Law Commission. On the occasion, of work within this commission, I was brought to reflect on the question of dematerialization of procedures and automation of processes, such as the online publication of court decisions.
Passionate about New Technologies, I have been interested in them during my career and, like many French people, hears the word “Blockchain”Without paying attention to it.
Following the 2017 crypto bubble explosion, I hear about the establishment of the blockchain mission. Attaching great importance to the transaction security and respect for privacy, I took a closer look at it in 2018. Quickly I realized the merits of such a technology as well as its ability to disrupt relationships between communities, businesses, individuals, as well as impacting the economy, finance, law and all of the sectors we know today.
At that time the Blockchain – and especially Bitcoin – were frequently associated with various illegal practices … Did you have any preconceived ideas?
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are, in my view, still too much associated with a corpus of negative ideas, even if this tends to be reduced.
To answer your question, no I had no preconceived ideas unlike some of my colleagues. I assume that a technology can be used in a variety of ways and that it is this use that determines what we consider to be morally right or wrong. Blockchain is no exception to this rule.
Not being polluted by these negative ideas allowed me to work effectively on its application from a point of view industrial, legal and economic as well as from the angle of the tokenization which were not addressed at the time.
Pierre Person I work with was more focused on the crypto issue. With the experience of Laure de La Raudière in cyber, this allowed us to obtain a good synergy and an honest overall vision of the power of Blockchain. Furthermore, the MP’s knowledge Eric Bothorel allowed us to tackle the infrastructure aspect, which should not be overlooked when developing digital technology.
Are you aware that past interventions by the Banque de France or Jean Pierre Landau have weakened the trust between individuals and institutions?
Unfortunately, I’m aware that in the past, the Bank of France by his behavior has hardly been open to debate.
Nevertheless, I am confident because the frankness of our recent exchanges shows thatthey are now beyond the agreed discourses of the past.
The many meetings that we organized, – including with major players in the banking sector – confirm me in this idea. This openness to discussion is a first step, the next will be to draw up an ambitious roadmap and succeed in it.
Regarding Jean Pierre Landau, some were indeed worried about the vision he may have had on certain technologies in the past (such as the Internet). On this kind of subject we should not project a reflection that we may have had 10 years ago. There is, in my opinion, no shame in recognizing that the postulates that we had been able to formulate for a time, turned out to be incorrect or incomplete.
A parliamentarian or public representative who was trained 15 years ago will not be able to be immediately competent on recent and topical subjects such as blockchain. This is not what citizens are asking for, they just want agility.
As parliamentarians, we have a pivotal role which is to establish good relationships with the ecosystem and to try to convince institutional actors. Blockchain is a European issue and not purely hexagonal.
Do you have cryptocurrencies?
Yes i have a wallet, but I am not an investor in the strict sense of the term. I also have some assets. To understand a subject, you have to see how things work in practice. Then we can talk about it and work on it. I support the work of BTU Protocol and D’Ark Ecosystems that I received at the assembly, I love their ideas and visions.
In the past, I was also a wealth management consultant in a private bank, so I think I can understand risk taking.
Due to their volatility, cryptocurrencies are not an investment that I would recommend to the greatest number, it is not a booklet A.
You must first acquire the necessary knowledge and get help if necessary. The crypto active sector poses a risk that one must be able to understand, or risk losing a lot, as the bankruptcy of QuadrigaCX in 2019. This discourse does not apply only to cryptocurrencies but to all forms of investment and that’s why the domain should be framed.
Speaking of booklet A, we hear more and more about DeFi (Finance Dec) as an alternative to classic finance. Do you think that the two ecosystems will coexist or that a struggle is looming?
We cannot know how it will develop. For me, for a few years we will experience a coexistence of different models, each with their own rules. Hence the need to perform analyzes as your media does, in order to create a grammar of active crypto.
Concerning the promised rates of return which are around 8 to 10% per year, they are indeed high but also present the counterpart at more risk. In my opinion, only a small portion of the heritage can be invested, and only in a thoughtful and informed manner.
You, with Remy Ozcan, co-founded the FFPB (French Federation of Blockchain Professionals), why this choice? Do you have some news to share with us?
With the FFPB, we aim to bring together the different stakeholders to take advantage of this synergy to advance the ecosystem. This progress will be made through training, networking and research.
“I share the idea that Blockchain is the greatest innovation on the Internet”
Jean Michel Mis
We also want to promote an inflow of capital, so that start-ups and companies can find partnerships to grow, unlike today where the simplest solution is to sell to the highest bidder when the time is right.
Unlike our American, English and Portuguese neighbors we are not represented before European authorities, especially those relating to regulation. France must be able to make its voice heard, be represented and lobby. This is one of the leitmotifs of the FFPB.
As Rémy previously explained to you, within the FFPB governance will be structured in accordance with the blockchain spirit with in particular decentralization via votes. We have a real need for popularization and each at his level, must be able to make the federation grow. Other elected officials will obviously join us and anyone who wishes to contribute to the building is welcome.
We are happy with the progress of the events because we have received a lot of pre-registrations which will soon become formal registrations.
I can’t tell you more for the moment but know that large institutional players are joining us.
Can we imagine seeing the blockchain land in the Paris Olympics in 2024?
We will know more in September, but it is indeed possible.
I am part of the working group on issues related to cybersecurity issues in the organization of the Olympic Games and I personally proposed the blockchain for ticket management. This is a low-cost use case that would demonstrate to the general public the power and importance of this technology.
Working on the mission on the‘Numeric identity to the Assembly and on the mission Facial Recognition within the National Digital Council, another question is often asked to me: namely the possibility of using facial recognition for the enrollment of tickets and the passage of gates to access the stadium. From there, it doesn’t seem unrealistic to have a blockchain to manage this data flow.
The use of blockchain has already been envisaged for the organization of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. If it were to materialize, France should at least continue along this path.
Personally I had already proposed a similar approach for the Rugby World Cup but this approach was unsuccessful, alas.
For some, blockchain is the greatest invention on the Internet, do you share this opinion?
I completely share this point of view. Blockchain is a breakthrough innovation, or disruptive as some like so much to say, as will be in my opinion lQuantum computer. Concerning I’IA I am more reserved!
Like the internet, blockchain technology is changing many dogmas and paradigms.
Overall, study reports agree that digital will create more jobs than those it will destroy. But this must go through efforts in training. We must not neglect this question! Learn the logic of business model and how to create value must be a priority because currently our best people are hired by large Anglo-Saxon and Chinese groups.
The China offers attractive remuneration but above all the possibility of working on unique subjects. Let us not be left behind! The health crisis we are going through must serve as a lesson!
What is your opinion regarding anonymous cryptocurrencies (Monero, Zcash ..) ? Is it possible to ban them?
I defend technology, but I cannot condone uses circumventing the law … I think that there should be a limit. Regarding the legal or fiscal actions that could apply, I think that taxation is a question of social acceptability, we have to make concessions. I think it will have to be looked at on a case by case basis and at the moment my opposition is only moral.
You recently stated: “The development of the Blockchain ecosystem is a priority for the government” In a post-Covid and economically stricken world, is this statement still valid?
Topics are linked to the urgency of the crisis, hence the developments in Stop covid and health brigades and health data but blockchain subjects have never been far from their preoccupations.
“I recently proposed that EDF should start mining cryptocurrencies”
Jean Michel Mis
The blockchain has been identified by the President of the Republic, by the Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, and by the Minister of the Economy Bruno the Mayor as one of the strategic sectors to rethink the economy and industry after this crisis. Bruno le Maire also reaffirmed the need and the desire to make France a blockchain Nation.
The blockchain must therefore benefit from the support of public authorities, whether state or local. We had a lag time on the side of the ECB due to the change of governing body. But Christine Lagarde has repeatedly confirmed to us that issues related to digital assets are permanently on his desk
In my opinion, all the cities thinking about smart cities should turn to blockchain, for the decarbonation for example.
It hasn’t happened yet, but I submitted an idea some time ago for make EDF a mining company. Such an approach would change France’s position in the sector.
Finally, many consider that every crisis gives rise to opportunities. This is how we proposed the idea of encouraging our citizens to use a stop-covid by an incentive in crypto. A kind of symbolic incentive to use the app.
Given the exceptional circumstances of the crisis this has not happened, but we are not defeatists far from it.
You were just talking about the wish to make France a Blockchain Nation. Given the heavy taxation in force in France, is this not a paradox?
Indeed, we are not the most attractive country in terms of tax…
We have set up the flat tax, which was an important step, showing that the subject was not taboo and that the government was ready to put in place the necessary devices to support such a large-scale technology. Some people at the time considered it insufficient or ridiculous, but I prefer to take small steps rather than not at all.
Now we have to go a little further and it seems realistic to me to put in place investment supports to have innovation mutual funds. If you make the effort to hold active crypto for a certain period of time you must have in exchange a more attractive tax system.
“Long-term holdings of crypto assets should go hand in hand with tax exemptions”
Are you aware that the AMF visa puts off a lot of players for various reasons and that they are turning to more attractive countries?
I think we need to review things. We have taken a first step, of course, but we must now take into account the experience that we have accumulated since to move towards more simplification and confidence for projects acting in good faith.
Questions from the French Crypto community
The crypto community is traditionally active and committed. Vso here are the answers to a selection of your questions:
Following this year’s tax returns, many have wondered if currency-backed stablecoins (Tether, BUSD) are really considered crypto ?
One proposal I can make to Bruno Le Maire is that of tax rescript, which usually only applies to the case that arises. Perhaps we could consider putting it forward for all subjects of the same nature when the question is asked several times. It is imperative to provide tax security to stakeholders.
Why do the Aren’t Europeans housed in the same boat? France intends to be at the forefront in crypto, right?
It’s part of the competition between states, everyone chooses where they want to perform best to attract certain types of economies. The paradox is that the crypto ecosystem which is libertarian, asks for unity and so do the states. We will not be able to build this unit if everyone wants to keep their prerogatives and remain in a competitive game. Exchanges take place concerning these questions, but it is unfortunately very long unlike a technology which evolves very quickly.
When can we have crypto accounting? Pay wages in cryptos? Pay taxes in cryptos?
Unfortunately, I have no date to give you, but this is a very important subject. I would nevertheless like to salute the work done by the order of chartered accountants, in particular those of PACA, who have understood the issue of tokenization.
Personally, I am in favor of opening bank accounts where crypto salary payments would be authorized.
Does the government plan to do a tax witch hunt each year, where we can expect a little leniency?
Such a question shows clearly the annoyance and the incomprehension resulting from this year’s request for declaration.
When we made the law, we were in a framing logic but leaving the right to experimentation. We have to stop putting pressure on people on this kind of subject at N + 1 given the age of the subject. We should have for 3 or 5 years a suspension of the logic of permanent controls.
The danger is that the players will play the game at the start and the most motivated will continue but, if they have access to less restrictive taxation in another EU country, they will obviously not be deprived. Bercy must open a right to experimentation in the tax field. Trust does not exclude control, but it should not be a prerequisite for it, especially if one aspires to be a Blockchain Nation.
I advocate for the right to make mistakes so that I can accompany everyone in the best possible way without frightening.
The final word ?
To conclude, in a few words, I would say that France is today fortunate to be at the heart of an innovative and efficient blockchain ecosystem, which has nothing to envy to our American or Chinese neighbors. Today, we must seize this opportunity to drive a European blockchain movement.
Engineering student, Community and Bounty Manager, I have been sailing on the turbulent oceans of the blockchain since 2017.
Realizing that blockchain will change our future, I too want to participate in the revolution. Find me on Bitcointalk and on LinkedIn