What has happened?
The two main French financial regulators have issued a joint statement, warning of the risks associated with bitcoin.
What does this mean?
The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR) have recommended that investors be vigilant when considering investing in these "speculative assets".
The statement explains that bitcoin is sometimes wrongly referred to as virtual "currencies" or "cryptocurrencies” and that savers are regularly contacting the two authorities in respect of bitcoin via their respective call centres.
The AMF and ACPR warned that bitcoin’s "operation is based on a network without intermediaries, and does not constitute legal tender".
Investors are exposed to a high risk of a correction and do not benefit from any guarantee or protection of invested capital.
"Bitcoin has seen abrupt increases in its value for several weeks now, [but] its value can just as unexpectedly collapse. The purchase/sale of and investment in Bitcoin currently takes place outside any regulated market."
Further, as bitcoins are not considered as financial instruments, they are not supervised by the AMF.
They cannot legally be classified as currencies or considered a means of payment and "are therefore not subject to the regulatory framework".
Nevertheless, the statement indicates that blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin, may provide many business opportunities.
In October, the AMF published a consultation on the supervision of ICOs.
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