France to create legal framework for cryptocurrency offerings

An Initial Coin Offering involves a company raising funds by offering investors tokens in return for their cash or cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, as opposed to obtaining shares in the company from a traditional offering. (Reuters)
Updated 22 March 2018
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France to create legal framework for cryptocurrency offerings

PARIS: France plans to create a legal framework for raising funds via cryptocurrencies and aims to become a leading center for offerings in bitcoin-style digital currencies, its finance minister wrote on a news website.
In an opinion piece on French website Numerama, Bruno Le Maire wrote that he had asked former central bank official Jean-Pierre Landau to draft a proposal for a legislative framework for digital currencies.
“France has every interest in becoming the first major financial center to propose an ad-hoc legislative framework for companies making an Initial Coin Offering,” Le Maire wrote.
An ICO involves a company raising funds by offering investors tokens in return for their cash or cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, as opposed to obtaining shares in the company from a traditional offering.
Le Maire said that an action plan to be presented to the French government in a few weeks will propose giving French market regulator Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) the option to authorize companies to issue “tokens” to raise funds, as long as they respect certain criteria to protect investors.
“This ‘white list’ will provide a precious reference for investors who want to finance serious projects,” he wrote.
Le Maire said that blockchain will offer unprecedented opportunities for French startups to raise funds by issuing tokens in Initial Coin Offerings.
“This promises to create a network of confidence without intermediaries, offers increased traceability and will boost economic efficiency,” Le Maire wrote.
Le Maire said France has a tradition of financial innovation and had created a legal framework for crowdfunding in 2014, had become a leader in green finance and had legalized the use of blockchain for the transfer of securities in December last year.
“Our target is simple: enter into the world of finance of the 21st century by guaranteeing all players the necessary security for their development ... we should not miss out on the blockchain revolution,” Le Maire wrote.
Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 largest economies meeting in Buenos Aires this week asked regulators to monitor cryptocurrencies but stopped short of proposing any specific action.


Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

Updated 3 min 10 sec ago
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Siemens CEO pushes plans to boost Iraqi power infrastructure

FRANKFURT: Siemens said its boss Joe Kaeser met Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday to discuss a proposal by the German company to expand the Middle East nation’s power production.
The German engineering group said it was proposing a deal to add 11 gigawatt (GW) of capacity over four years, saying this would boost the country’s capacity by nearly 50 percent.
It did not give a value, but such a contract would be worth several billion euros based on previous comparable deals.
Iraq has a wide gap between electricity consumption and supply. Peak demand in the summer, when people turn on air conditioners due to high temperatures, is about 21 GW, far exceeding the 13 GW the grid is currently provides, experts say.
Kaeser said in a statement after meeting Prime Minister Al-Abadi that they had “discussed the comprehensive Siemens roadmap to build a better future for the Iraqi people.”
“In Egypt, we have done the same and successfully built up the power infrastructure in record time with the highest efficiency,” he said.
In 2015, Siemens signed an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) deal with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants to add 16.4 gigawatts of capacity to the country’s power grid, marking the group’s single biggest order.
The proposal for Iraq, first pitched in February, would include cutting Iraq’s energy losses, introducing smart grids, expanding transmission grids, upgrading existing plants and adding new capacity.
The group would also help the government secure funding from international commercial banks and export credit agencies with German government support, creating thousands of jobs in Iraq.
Siemens would donate a $60 million grant for software for Iraqi universities, it said.