In the context of a public inquiry by the Autorité de la concurrence, (Competition Authority) the Adan expressed its views on the competitive situation of the digital asset industry. In its response, the Adan describes the blockages to banking institutions that have persisted since the first crypto/blockchain projects in France despite the new regulation of VASP and stresses the danger of such inertia, particularly in the current economic climate. Indeed, Adan underlines the risk of French nuggets being exiled abroad, even though digital assets offer very promising prospects in payments and decentralised finance, which should instead be encouraged.

The Association is at disposal of interested persons to provide any necessary clarification to the elements presented in this document, and to consider any useful avenues of work in connection with the topics discussed.

Summary of the response to the “FinTechs” sector survey

  • Since the creation of the blockchain and the first entrepreneurial projects in France, the “crypto/blockchain” actors have not been able to establish a relationship of trust with the banking sector. These difficulties are materialized both by the systematic refusal to open an account for these new entrants and to provide them with credit or payment services and by the obstacles posed to their customers who would like to use “crypto/blockchain” services.
  • In spite of very comprehensive French regulations – unique within the European Union – which provide a framework for crypto-actives players and curb the risks generated by their activities, French banking institutions still refuse to provide them with their services, or seize the first opportunity to break off any relationship with the players.
  • The current situation is jeopardizing the development of the French crypto-actives and blockchain industry and risks, in a relatively short time frame, pushing players to establish themselves abroad. 
  • The consequences of this non-banking proved critical in the recent context of the COVID crisis19 , when crypto/blockchain actors could not benefit from certain economic support measures (such as the EMP) due to the absence of a bank account and the laborious communication with banking institutions. 
  • In addition, foreign companies are discouraged from setting up their projects in France, as they cannot use the services of French banking institutions – even though they are subject to French regulations.
  • However, crypto-actives and blockchaining offer very promising prospects, particularly in the field of payments and so-called decentralized or open finance, which should be encouraged to improve efficiency and accessibility. These activities, which are in direct competition with the current offer of the banking sector, should not be paralyzed by the current blocking situation.