French Parliamentarians Recommend €500 Million Budget for Blockchain Projects

Parliamentarians and lawmakers in France have been discussing how to leverage blockchain technology to streamline routine business processes.

"2018 Was The Year Zero Of Blockchain Popularization"

Jean-Michel Mis, a seasoned politician who was elected to the French National Assembly last year, remarked during a parliamentary meeting that "2018 was the year zero of the popularization of blockchain in France. The year 2019 must be that of the emergence of this ecosystem."

Going on to recommend a 500 million Euros strategic investment over the next three years, Jean-Michel called for a redeployment of credits which have currently been allocated to the nation’s blockchain development efforts. These credits were granted earlier to the country’s National Research Agency and the French Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance).

The new estimate of €500 million is considerably lower than the €1.5 billion of public credits announced by French president Emmanuel Macron (in March) for artificial intelligence (AI) related projects. Announced in March 2018, France’s 2022 AI initiative is part of the nation’s larger effort to become a “startup nation.”

"We Are Clearly Behind AI"

Although not as many funds have been allocated for DLT-related developments, Jean-Michel Mis explained:

The problem is not the same. We are clearly behind AI. Not to mention that at the level of the blockchain, we are still at the level of priming and amounts to be deployed are less important to support the development of the sector.

Adding her own recommendations, National Assembly member Laure de La Raudière remarked:

With the blockchain, we would like France to take the lead this time. France must define a state strategy around the blockchain.

In previous meetings held by French lawmakers, a few elected officials had recommended that the country explore the feasibility of launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC). According to Laure: "[A CBDC] would have a symbolic and practical impact since the blockchain suffers from a slightly degraded image because of the volatility of bitcoin."

Classifying Mining As An "Electro-Intensive Activity"

Additionally, French parliamentarians have called for classifying cryptocurrency mining as an “electro-intensive activity." This type of classification could potentially benefit private firms in the country as it would help reduce the utilization rate of France’s public electricity network (Turpe).

While noting the importance of the evolving digital currency mining sector, Jean-Michel Mis suggested:

We have to have our own mining farms in France.

Currently, the mining industry is dominated by countries such as China, Georgia, and Sweden.

Notably, these new proposals have come shortly after French MPs voted to approve the PLF 2019 and Pact Act, both of which aim to clarify regulatory policies related to the taxation of digital assets and other activities involving crypto transactions.