France’s is taking a significant step in the regulation of financial influencers, popularly known as “finfluencers” who promote investment products, including cryptocurrencies, through the “Responsible Influence Certificate” program.

On September 7, two prominent French regulatory bodies, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP), announced the launch of a comprehensive training program specifically tailored to influencers operating in the financial sector.

The Evolution of the “Responsible Influence Certificate”

The “Responsible Influence Certificate” was initially introduced in 2021 by the ARPP. This was to ensure ethical and transparent practices among influencers in various industries. Since its inception, over 1,000 French influencers have obtained this certification.

However, recognizing the unique challenges and responsibilities that financial influencers face, the program is expanding to include a specialized course for those promoting equities, bonds, ETFs, funds, derivatives, and even unconventional assets like wine. Notably, this certificate also encompasses the promotion of crypto-assets.

Meeting the Certification Criteria

To earn the “Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising,” influencers must achieve a minimum score of 75% on a series of 25 multiple-choice questions designed to test their knowledge of financial products and regulations. While this certificate is not a legally binding document, it carries substantial weight.

France introduces Responsible Influence Certificate for crypto influencers

The ARPP has the authority to withdraw the certificate from influencers who fail to adhere to the prescribed guidelines and standards. It’s important to note that before obtaining this specialized certificate, influencers must first secure the “General Certificate.” This is a prerequisite for all individuals engaging in influencer activities.

France’s Progressive Approach

France’s approach to regulating financial influencers is part of a broader strategy. This is to strike a balance between promoting innovation in the cryptocurrency industry and protecting investors from potential risks.

In May 2023, the French Senate passed an amendment permitting registered cryptocurrency companies to collaborate with social media influencers for advertising and promotional purposes. This move signifies the French government’s commitment to fostering a thriving cryptocurrency ecosystem while ensuring accountability and consumer protection.

Contrasting International Perspectives

While France embraces a proactive approach to influencer regulation, other countries adopt different stances. In the United Kingdom, for instance, regulators have issued stern warnings to influencers, cautioning that their promotions could constitute offenses punishable by imprisonment, unlimited fines, or both.

Moreover, the European Consumer Organisation is actively lobbying for a complete ban on cryptocurrency advertising by influencers, reflecting the global debate on the role and responsibilities of influencers in the financial sector.

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