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French Legislation on Blockchain: The Way Forward

Roundtable, French Parliament, June 14, 2018

We were delighted to join Carrefour at a hearing held at the French Assemblée Nationale on June 14. This hearing was part of the Mission d’information sur les chaines de bloc et autres technologies de registres distribués, led by Deputies Julien Aubert (Vaucluse), Laure de la Raudière (Eure-et-Loir) and Jean-Michel Mis (Loire).

This parliamentary committee aims at enabling France to be at the forefront of blockchain technology in order to build a positive environment for innovation and protect French and European sovereignty.

Jérôme Lefebvre, Stratumn COO, and Séraphie de Tracy, Stratumn Insurance Director, joined the hearing to share our vision on Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) and their applications to inter-business processes (NB another parliamentary committee is looking at crypto-assets). With a heavy focus on pragmatism, we proposed the following actions to inspire the way forward.

Win the Battle of Laws and Standards

We acknowledge the challenges that a disruption like DLT poses to public institutions, especially for legislative bodies. As of today we strongly believe that forcing DLT into a rigid legislative frame would be counterproductive. Only 3 points are critical today in accelerating adoption in France:

  • validate the legality of a digital signature rather than electronic signature
  • recognize blockchains as a proof register
  • foster dematerialisation of processes by removing the need for paper audit trails.

Regarding norms and standards, we need to be aware of their critical role in establishing market leadership. France participates today in the ISO working group on DLT (ISO/TC 307) via the AFNOR. France should be in the driving seat and demonstrate strong thought leadership in this area.

Turn France Into a ‘Blockchain Nation’

The State must lead by example with large and impactful projects. So far the French population has not been exposed to any significant DLT initiative with real impact on their daily life. In parallel to any State initiative we believe that the only way to establish this leadership is to ensure French citizens are aware of and comfortable with the technology. France must overcome the current lack of knowledge and mistrust towards this new technology (Odoxa survey for BFM Business, May 2017: 75% of the French population does not know about blockchain, 67% fear it).

Increase Purchase Orders for Growing Tech Companies

Only the most advanced companies have sufficient maturity today to go beyond Proof of Concept experiments. We advocate the following 2 things.

  • On the one hand, the State must show the way by committing to large projects delivered by growing tech companies, as this will help reduce corporate adoption cycles.
  • On the other hand, incentives must be designed in a way that increases the amount of orders going to growing tech companies.

Implement a Trust Ecosystem at Scale

Distributed Ledger Technologies and cryptography combined together enable the creation of trusted ecosystems. Those ecosystems create the conditions for better service delivery and better customer experience while also enabling data privacy by design. The implementation of PSD2 (Revised Payment Service Directive) could be a great opportunity to build such an ecosystem on a wide scale.