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Front National seeks French ban on Bitcoin

Tue 7 Jun 2016

Bitcoin Marine Le Pen

The French right-wing party Front National (FN) has said that it would ban the use of virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, should it get into power.

In a public notice [French] released on the 26th May, the political party argued that only one single currency should legally be in circulation in any country at a given time – in France’s current situation, the Euro. The FN cited the protection of France’s ‘true’ economy, and monetary patriotism as its key arguments.

FN MEP Bernard Monot, who helped write the statement, told national paper Le Figaro [French] that he believes virtual and crypto-currencies have come about as a result of struggling capitalism and negative interest rates. He opined that digital currencies risk damaging entire traditional financial systems.

Monot added that virtual currencies, and particularly Bitcoin, would allow French citizens to be held ‘hostage’ by private banks. He compared the currencies to ‘Monopoly money’ – ‘You can play with it, but you can’t buy a baguette with it.’

The MEP concluded: ‘If we get into power, the only legal currency would be a new French Franc…’

However, researcher and blockchain legal expert, Primavera de Filippi, disagreed, telling Le Figaro that virtual currencies are in fact trying to ‘counter a loss of control over our money and private lives by creating a decentralised system which isn’t controlled by any one financial operator.’ She added that Bitcoin aims to give back control to citizens and allow them to transfer and pay for products securely online. This, she continued, is different from traditional online transactions which have to be constantly approved by a financial third party.

The FN is pushing to enforce a law which would ban all digital currencies in France, more of which will be detailed in an economic programme to be delivered by the party on the 29th July.

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