France's rigidity on crypto ads might spread through the E.U.
French regulations that ban the marketing of cryptocurrencies and crypto companies forced Formula (F1) teams to remove their crypto company sponsors from the cars, while RacingNews365 reports that an EU-wide crypto marketing ban might be coming.
French watchdog Autorité des Marche Financiers (AMF) is in charge of regulating financial markets and decides what can be advertised. The AMF sees the term ‘crypto’ as a general term that could include currencies, wallets, and exchanges. While some have registered with the AMF, some didn’t. Therefore, everything falling under the term ‘crypto’ is subject to a strict advertisement ban.
The French Grand Prix 2022 took place between 22 and 24 July. Aware of the regulatory implications, some sponsors chose to opt out, while some sought legal advice.
Eight of ten F1 teams currently have at least one crypto company or currency sponsor. As the implications of the advertisement ban are hefty, some sponsors have caved and decided not to exercise their branding rights in France.
Crypto.com, which is F1’s global partner and the Aston Martin team’s sponsor, spoke to RacingNews365 and said:
“Crypto.com decided they would not be exercising their branding rights for this race. But it remains F1’s global partner and we expect such rights to be leveraged in other ways at future races.”
Similarly, the Alpine team removed Binance logos, and Alpha Tauri removed the Fantom ecosystem from their cars to avoid quarrels with the French watchdog.
On the other hand, Red Bull Racing had both its sponsors, ByBit and Tezos, on display during the race. When asked about the French regulations, a spokesperson said that their legal team was aware of the situation and had decided that logos on their cars don’t fall under the AMF regulations.
Mercedes’s team also made a similar decision about displaying Velas. The team confided with Velas and was informed that the advertisement didn’t fall under the AMF rules. The Mercedes team said:
“Velas Network AG informed us it does not provide services that would require registration with the [AMF] and therefore there is no advertisement prohibition with respect to the use of the Velas logo on the Scuderia Ferrari assets within the scope of the French GP,”
France on crypto
France had always been very rigid regarding advertising regulations for the F1 races. The country has one of the most strict advertisement laws and has already banned tobacco, alcohol, and gambling ads. According to RacingNews365, the EU might take France as an example and imply marketing bans on specific cryptocurrencies and platforms.
France has one of the highest crypto adoption rates in Europe. According to Gemini’s Global State of Crypto 2022 report, 16% of the French own crypto. The percentage climbs to 62% with high-income families. Also, France leads the way in gender equality in the cryptosphere, with more than 45% of crypto holders being female. In addition, 8% of the French also said they’d probably buy crypto by the year-end.
From a regulatory perspective, France can be considered crypto-friendly. Even though there are no regulations for cryptocurrencies, the regulators are working on one. The AMF published crypto regulation proposals to the European Commission in July 2021, and the Commission retired with four major action points for France to work on.
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