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France, new ICO Framework and African Countries

France’s first-of-its-kind framework that will ease the conduct of ICOs – initial coin offerings – in the country may see its impact spread to Africa where blockchain has been gaining momentum.

There have been inconclusive debates on how to regulate the novel blockchain-based crowdfunding mechanism as a means for budding startups to raise needed funds for their projects. France now has what could be seen as the world’s first law on ICOs to be passed by a national legislative body.

France’s equivalent of the US SEC, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), adopts Article 26 on ICOs. This creates a system for a license or visa to be granted to actors who wish to issue tokens to finance projects or activities especially those intended for the French market based on certain rules to protect investors. The French economy and finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, made the announcement on Twitter.

The success of the framework may see some ICOs launch in France in coming months. Afterward, the French’s attraction to this new mode of financing and investment within the blockchain ecosystem can easily spread to parts of Africa especially France’s 20 former colonies.

The blockchain industry in Africa is growing with several initiatives springing up in various innovation hubs across the region as both the public and private sectors seek effective ways to keep records with trust.

From pan-African Ecobank operating in 36 countries to IBM and ITEX, a multiple payment solution company for banks in 23 countries, more companies are exploring blockchain for security and trust in Africa. Others include AID:Tech and PharmAccess in Tanzania, ‘Nurse in Hand’ in Kenya for blockchain-based emergency response, and Jamborow’s Pan African B2B platform for financial inclusion in Africa. In Kenya and Nigeria, programmes have been set up to explore the blockchain opportunity while the South African Reserve Bank recently trialled a fast and secure distributed ledger technology-based wholesale payment system.

These developments, combined with France’s 60 years disproportionate influence over some African countries including control over their military and currencies, could spur the ICO agenda in Africa if the trend breaks out. French companies’ quasi-monopoly over strategic areas in Francophone economies including telecoms and France’s continued influence on their foreign policies will sustain the ICO steam when it starts.

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