From former LREM MP Pierre Person to Belgian MP Christophe De Beukelaer, various political figures want to defend this thriving sector.
The Surfin’ Bitcoin, which was held from Thursday to Saturday, has made it possible to address many themes, including that of the link between bitcoin and politics. The theme of a roundtable discussion also focused on bitcoin’s place in the national and international political debate.
In France, “crypto deputies” are rare. At the time of the Pacte Act in 2019, which had led to the oversight of the cryptocurrency sector on certain aspects such as taxes, some deputies had taken up the subject, such as Jean-Michel Mis (LREM), Laure de la Raudière ( Agir), Pierre Person (ex-LREM) or even the ex-Chairman of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly Eric Woerth (LR). He was even the author of an information mission on cryptocurrencies. Today, and as the cryptocurrency market undergoes an unprecedented upheaval, one wonders where the new crypto MPs have gone.
Recently, a former political figure appeared: Jean-Marie Cambacérès, former deputy and current chairman of the foreign affairs department of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. If he fell into bitcoin quite late, he is now a staunch defender after all. He was even part of the French delegation that traveled this summer to the Central African Republic, the country that has adopted bitcoin as legal tender.
“Bitcoin Challenges the Fundamentals”
But why are so few MPs still publicly interested in cryptocurrencies? “We have never discussed monetary policy in the Finance Committee of the National Assembly,” said former MP Pierre Person during a roundtable discussion at Surfin’ Bitcoin on Friday. “It has an impact on people’s everyday lives that is not debated. What’s exciting about bitcoin is that it questions its fundamentals. There is a real democratic issue about this aspect. Politics focuses only on fiscal policy,” regrets the latter.
“The lack of interest is the complexity of the subject, the ignorance of the impact of monetary problems on our monetary lives. The only way we are interested in this world is in the interest of taxes,” explains Belgian MP Christophe De Beukelaer from. “It is sometimes perceived as indecent to talk about bitcoin. There is a great lack of culture, where we do not understand monetary mechanisms. Words of financial culture should be introduced in schools,” he adds.
To mark this occasion, Christophe De Beukelaer, who considers himself a “non-anarchist”, has decided to be paid in bitcoin in 2022, i.e. from January. In fact, the Belgian parliament pays his salary in euros every month and the Belgian MP converts it into bitcoin on his crypto wallet. He has decided not to touch it and will see in a year what he will do with it. He has lived on his savings ever since.
“It’s a political act, not a financial one”
“I’ve been trying to get the subject of web 3 on the political agenda for a while without success. I wanted to wake people up by deciding to be paid in bitcoin. It’s a political act, not a financial one,” explains the deputy. If it hasn’t been copied by other deputies by this point, some major Belgian political parties have since hired advisors in cryptocurrencies, he breathes. For his part, Pierre Person, who has already spearheaded two reports on cryptocurrencies, including a very recent one, admitted that he had put some of his savings into cryptocurrencies.
If the two men want to move the lines in this sector, they still face blockages. For example, that of a large-scale adoption of cryptocurrencies. At the moment there are 200 million wallets with cryptocurrencies in the world.
Although this number is increasing, it is still low worldwide. “Cryptocurrency comes to the grandmother when there are use cases. It is the use that should allow this,” thinks Pierre Person. At the beginning of his initiation into the crypto ecosystem, Jean-Marie Cambacérès wanted to buy a vine with bitcoin. “If I did, it was also to prove that I believed in the future,” said the latter.
“European regulations are going to be very tough”
In addition, the banking sector remains cautious on this ecosystem, despite certain ties to the sector in recent months, mainly by US banks, while French banks are lagging. The speakers of the roundtable are indeed vigilant for European regulatory projects in the cryptocurrency sector, in particular through the MiCa regulation (Market in Crypto Assets, see our article on the subject) which is due to come into effect within two years.
“I think the banking sector came out on top of the MiCa regulation. For our interests, we need to have a smooth transition: bank players should be interested in this technology,” says Pierre Person.
European regulations “will be very tough”, thinks the ex-MP, who could also remain in the crypto ecosystem in another way.
“Either there is an intelligent and pragmatic application of the rules and we can make good the damage done, or there is a closed logic of converting the banking sector to the crypto sector and we risk becoming the customers of the GAFAs operating in Europe on our territory,” he explains.