Europe has an interesting mix of responses to Blockchain Technology; ranging from cautious optimism, outright distrust, to arrogant/ignorant indifference. France however is starting to position itself as a major stakeholder in the fast-growing blockchain scene of Europe.
France is historically strategic to the development of digital technologies. The Internet has its roots in France and some older techy folks could remember using Minitel in Paris in the late 80s and in the early 90s. In fact, the Minitel terminal was reportedly versatile enough to connect to more than 25M users and 26,000 online services even before the world wide web as it is known made its debut in North America.
Unfortunately, France had lost its first-mover advantage in digital technologies over the last two decades due to a myriad of factors. Thankfully, the country is now back on the forward-thinking innovative ride and it quite interesting that Internet 3.0, the Blockchain is starting to enjoy a warm welcome in France. This piece looks at some of the recent developments around Blockchain technology in France with a view to providing investors with insight into the opportunities for exploring blockchain investments in a structured economy.
It all starts with the political will to embrace Blockchain
Last month, the French government through the Digital Economy Minister, Mounir Mahjoubi revealed its plan to unveil a policy roadmap guiding the implementation and regulation of Blockchain in the country. The key specifics of the roadmap are centered around activating the mass-market adoption of Blockchain, building a vibrant Blockchain ecosystem, formulating policies around the financing of Blockchain projects and facilitating education in the current and potential role of Blockchain in decentralizing the future.
Mahjoubi while speaking about the government’s role in driving financing notes that “State money is here to accompany and accelerate… and private money will come, too, because more and more investors are ready to invest in a French blockchain or in a European blockchain.”
A couple of months ago, news surfaced that France is committing to spending €500 million (about $569 million) on state-level blockchain deployments over the next three years as the country begins to understands that Blockchain technology might not be a passing fad.
Paris Blockchain Week Summit brings global experts together
Blockchain evangelists all over the world are starting to pay attention to France’s budding role in the Blockchain industry and now the attention of the whole world is on the country. The reality of France’s strategic positioning is not lost on Blockchain evangelists. Hence, it’s not surprising that The Paris Blockchain Week Summit (PBWS) holding between April 13 and April 19 in the country. The PBWS summit will bring together almost 2000 attendees and 100 high level speakers as a nod to the France’s strategic positioning.
Some of the biggest names in France’s and the global Blockchain industry such as Wei Zhou, CFO of Binance, Dominik Schiener, co-founder of IOTA, and Pascal Gauthier, Chairman of Ledger are confirmed to speak at the event.
France is also lending its full support to the summit and the French Minister of Economy and Finance; Bruno Le Maire will be present. The Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi will also be present at to share insights from the government perspective. Also present at the conference is Eva Kaili who will probably provide an EU-centric perspective to the role of Blockchain in economy, finances, and investments as the bloc continue to grapple with populist rhetoric.
Alex Mashinsky, Founder and CEO at Celsius network acknowledges the role of government policy in potentially driving the mass-market adoption of Blockchain technology. He observes that “I think the recent proposed regulation by Macron and the AMF will catapult France to become the leading location for aspiring Blockchain developers and investors, millions of people all over the world are eager to see regulatory clarity for Utility and Security tokens as well as stable coins.”
Investors need to look to France for Blockchain sentiment in Europe
Fundamentally, Blockchain will be bigger than the entire Internet because it will a connecting platform for all the money in the world; hence, it will have direct influence on monetary policy, international economics, investments, and wealth distribution.
France is leading the charge to sidestep the negativities surrounding cryptocurrency to look at the promising potential of the underlying Blockchain technology. France’s regulation of crypto assets to find a mix that protects investors without stifling innovation will become a playbook for other EU countries on how to embrace the future of currency in a digital world.
It would also be interesting to see how France is prepared to lead the international corporation necessary for international cooperation for the development of blockchain and crypto assets while maintaining territorial attractivity and competitiveness in the race for innovation.
Hopefully, the Paris Blockchain Week Summit will provide some insights into some of these key issues and chart the course for broader discussions at the intersection of innovation, regulation, and politics.
Image sourced from Pixabay