France Introduces Training Program for Crypto Influencers

France Introduces Training Program for Crypto Influencers

France has introduced a new training program specifically tailored for crypto and finance influencers, aiming to instill better understanding and compliance regarding advertisement disclosures.

The new program move emerges from an observed need for clearer communication in investment advertisements to ensure they are transparent and balanced. In the past, crypto influencers and celebrities have been embroiled in controversies, with some instances leading to lawsuits.

The initiative, named the "Responsible Influence Certificate in Finance," has been jointly developed by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (ARPP). This program was inaugurated following an earlier initiative by the ARPP, which discovered that a notable 25% of online content did not adequately signify the presence of sponsored advertising.

Given the rise and increasing influence of crypto and finance personalities on the public, AMF Chair Marie-Anne Barbat-Layani emphasized the importance of clarity in investment communications. The chairwoman said the following in a press release:

"Protecting retail investors is our top priority. If a publication by an influencer is paid for, it is crucial that the public is clearly informed. Finance is a highly regulated sector, and investment communications must comply with the rules and be clear, accurate, non-misleading, and balanced. It appears that some influencers are unaware of this."

The training module covers a range of topics, extending from specifics about investment products like bonds and ETFs to the nuances of offering services such as portfolio management and investment advisory. It also delves into the realms of verifying authorizations, understanding crypto-assets, and the roles of digital asset service providers (DASPs). The latter is particularly pertinent given recent incidents where influencerds have endorsed cryptocurrency projects that subsequently failed, such as the notable $1 billion FTX influencer lawsuit.

Stéphane Martin, General Manager of the ARPP, commented on the broader benefits of this initiative, saying,

"The certificate is useful for everyone. By combining their respective areas of expertise, the work with the AMF to create a specific module for financial part of a common and shared objective of protecting the public-retail investors."

To earn the Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising, influencers must first pass the original Responsible Influence Certificate. They must then secure at least 75% accuracy on a subsequent 25-question multiple-choice test. Though obtaining these certificates is not legarlly mandatory for influencers in France, non-compliance with the country's advertisement regulations could entail legal consequences. Additionally, certain brands have begun to necessitate possession of the original certificate for collaborations, highlighting its growing significance.

The Responsible Influence Certificate in Financial Advertising aims to fortify the integrity of financial advertising and guard investors against potentially misleading or risky financial products. Barbat-Layani also encouraged professionals collaborating with influencers to verify that they've procured the certificate, underscoring its intended role in enhancing professionalism within the industry.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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