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French Regulator Blacklists 15 Crypto Investment Websites

France’s stock market regulator announced on Thursday that it has blacklisted 15 cryptocurrency and crypto-asset investment websites.

The Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) will add the offending platforms to its existing “liste noir,” which already includes businesses that unlawfully offer investments in commodities like diamonds, rare earth metals and wine.

The announcement explained:

“Companies in France offering the purchase of rights over goods promoting the possibility of a yield or its economic equivalent are subject to the regulation of diverse goods and as such their offer must have a registration number provided by the AMF.”

The announcement goes on to list the websites of fifteen companies who have been alerted by the AMF of their regulatory violations but continue to operate. The majority of those on the list claim to be located in the U.K.

Among them is AKJ Crypto, which claims to provide a variety of services ranging from asset storage to account management. Another, Crypteo, is a purported cryptocurrency marketplace.

The AMF’s statement  investors that “no sales pitch should make one forget that there are no high returns without high risks.” Likewise, it advises them to perform due diligence on the investments they’re considering and to weigh the criteria used to establish a product’s price.

The regulator also said that investors should consider the means by which a product can be resold and the deadlines which may correspond to this.

“Don’t invest in that which you don’t understand,” the Authority cautioned

This is not the first time the AMF has involved itself in the affairs of the crypto industry. In February, it released a statement positing that trading platforms should not be allowed to market cryptocurrency derivative products electronically because they fall within the realm of the MiFID 2 and Sapin 2 laws, the latter of which bans advertisements for certain financial contracts.

Likewise, the Authority launched the Universal Node to ICO Research Network (UNICORN) in October of 2017. At the time, it described the program as providing a framework that would allow ICO issuers to develop their operations while ensuring the protection of would-be investors.

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French Regulator Says No to Online Crypto Derivatives Ads

France’s stock market regulator released a statement about cryptocurrency-tied derivatives on Thursday, which includes a curb on the advertising of such products.

In its statement, L’Autorite Des Marches Financiers (AMF) said that trading platforms should not be allowed to market cryptocurrency derivative products electronically, per regulations that cover derivatives more broadly. The publication followed a months-long review process, according to the AMF.

The agency said:

“The AMF concludes that a cash-settled cryptocurrency contract may qualify as a derivative, irrespective of the legal qualification of a cryptocurrency. As a result, online platforms which offer cryptocurrency derivatives fall within the scope of MiFID 2 and must therefore comply with the authorisation, conduct of business rules, and the EMIR trade reporting obligation to a trade repository. Above all, these products are subject to the provisions of the Sapin 2 law, and notably the ban of advertisements for certain financial contracts.”

The EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) is an update to previous legislation, with the stated goal of providing greater transparency across asset classes in the name of investor protection. The initiative came into effect on Jan. 3.

The AMF’s missive is the latest from the agency on the topic of cryptocurrencies, coming months after it first weighed in initial coin offerings (ICOs). In October, the agency launched an ICO-focused initiative, dubbed the Universal Node to ICO Research Network (UNICORN).

The effort, according to statements at the time, was aimed at “offering to these carriers of projects a frame allowing the development of their operations and to ensure the protection of actors and investors wishing to participate.”

Other regulatory bodies within the EU have been looking into the issue of crypto derivatives as well.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is investigating if such contracts comply with MiFID rules, and announced in January that it was seeking public input on potential rule changes.

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Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.