Why the AMF wants to encourage “responsible” crypto influencers

The AMF aims to expand the “responsible” influencer certificate to the field of finance and cryptocurrencies during the year 2022.

Hasheur, TefeurS, Caroline Jurado… In a few years, France saw more and more crypto influencers appear, sometimes followed by hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Some simply popularize the cryptocurrency ecosystem, others offer advice for investing in cryptocurrencies. However, many problems arise when an influencer posts on social networks: is he transparent about his identity? Is there a potential conflict of interest? Does he really know the financial or cryptocurrency ecosystem? Is his point genuine or does he want to scam his target? While the cryptocurrency ecosystem is gaining momentum – 8% of French have already invested in cryptocurrencies by 2021 – not all of them have a benevolent approach, some sometimes try to scam their public.

Protect investors

For an internet user who wants to know how to invest in crypto assets, as well as for a brand who wants to partner with a trusted influencer, it can be difficult to know how to distinguish benevolent crypto influencers from malicious ones. In 2021, the Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority (ARPP) implemented a “Responsible Influence Certificate”, noting that “more than 1 in 4 content was not transparent about commercial collaboration”.

“The influencer is aware of the ethical rules and the applicable legislation”

“The ARPP’s Certificate of Ethical and Responsible Influencing guarantees advertisers that the influencer is aware of the ethical rules and the applicable legislation regarding the promotion of products on social networks (including environmental topics, health, cosmetics, food products, gambling, etc.), and that it is transparent to its public about its commercial partnerships,” we read on the organization’s website.

Specifically, after following an online module on these topics, the influencer must validate his certificate by completing a questionnaire and have at least 75% correct answers.

It can be seen that the number of influencers (whose names are visible on the website) who have received such a certificate has increased sharply between 2021 and 2022. But this certificate, which covers many economic areas (fashion, beauty, luxury, etc. ) did not currently relate to the financial sector.

This will be settled in 2022/2023. Indeed, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and the ARPP have announced that they want to extend this certificate to the financial domain, and cryptocurrencies in particular.

“The two authorities are planning the creation of a module specific to the financial sector of the Certificate of Responsible Influence launched by the ARPP in 2021, with the aim of educating in an educational way the best practices and the rules that apply in this area. (clear, accurate and non-misleading communication, in particular about the risks, indication of the paid nature of the publication or of possible conflicts of interest, etc.)”, underlines a joint press release.

The finance specific module will be based on the ARPP generalist model. It is stated on the site that the certificate allows to ensure that the influencer has completed an awareness course of the “deotonological recommendations” of the organization and has proven his good knowledge of the subject he raises with his community. .

In particular, the site mentions the 2017 Financial Services Recommendations, which refer to the International Chamber of Commerce’s ICC Code on Advertising and Commercial Communications.

“Advertising promises for products or services that fall within the scope must therefore in no way: minimize risk, portray the use of such products or services as a game, or make an analogy between gambling and the products or services covered by this recommendation”, one can read.

Contacted by BFM Crypto, some crypto influencers with a strong community confirmed that they would of course comply with the process of obtaining such a certificate.

The certificate does not allow the sale of financial products

However, this certificate, which gives influencers a certain credibility, will in no way validate influencers’ content, the AMF reminds BFM Crypto. It will also not allow influencers to sell financial products to their customers. It is thus clearly distinguishable from AMF Certification that allows a financial professional to sell financial products to their clients.

Last October, the AMF had already made recommendations investing in social media.

“In general, the AMF encourages investors to obtain information before making an investment decision, from reliable sources, and especially advises novice investors to gradually build a stock market culture and be wary of unrealistic promises. effortless and risk-free gains,” the statement said.

The AMF mainly discussed the skills of certain influencers here.

“Faced with the resurgence of investment or trading site recommendations by social network influencers, the Investor Relations and Protection Department (DREP) of the AMF calls for vigilance: it is advisable to question the financial skills of these people who presenting as experts, the sincerity and disinterested nature of these precepts, the paid nature of which is not always clearly indicated”, we could also read.

Despite the future implementation of such a certificate, the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) remains competent when it comes to sanctioning influencers in case of derivative products.

In particular, an investigation by this organization had led to the payment of a fine of 20,000 euros by the influencer Nabilla Benattia-Vergara for “deceptive business practices” on social networks (promotion of a trading training site on Snapchat in 2018) accompanied by a publicity measure .

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