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The AMF publishes a discussion paper on Decentralised Finance (DeFi)

The AMF shares its preliminary thinking on the regulatory issues raised by the new financial activities on crypto-assets based on automated, decentralised and disintermediated protocols that make up the emerging DeFi ecosystem. The AMF invites stakeholders to share their views by 30 September, to feed into the European and international works on these matters.

Decentralised Finance is a phenomenon still relatively unknown to the general public and is at an early stage of development. Through the reliance on distributed ledger technology and the use of crypto-assets, DeFi activities offer an alternative to traditional financial services by means of automated, decentralised and disintermediated operations, without the need for human intervention. DeFi has seen significant growth in recent years and high media exposure with the collapse of the Terra-Luna ecosystem in May 2022, which caused tremors throughout the crypto-asset sector and raised questions about the maturity and viability of certain protocols.

This discussion paper seeks to define what constitutes the Decentralised Finance ecosystem. It identifies its components, such as blockchain protocols (a standardised set of rules allow for the registration of transactions in a sequence of blocks within a distributed ledger), smart contracts (automated pieces of code that execute transactions according to pre-determined rules), decentralised exchange protocols (allowing for the automated initiation, trading, settlement and recording of transactions in a single cycle directly on the blockchain), etc. It also describes the trends observed in this market and identifies a number of risks, including liquidity, valuation, price manipulation, value slippage and leverage. Finally, it examines governance-related aspects raised by these new models, where users are able to participate directly in protocol management by interacting with the blockchain. With regard to all these issues, the document raises several points for discussion that could feed into future regulatory thinking.

In defining and implementing a regulatory framework adapted to DeFi, the AMF supports a progressive and proportionate approach, based on the principle of "same activity, same risk, same regulation". This approach will also require coordination, given the cross-border nature of DeFi activities, in order to foster the emergence of a fair market that is conducive to both supporting innovation and protecting investors. The works of the European Commission, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) will bring further clarity on the challenges of regulating DeFi. The AMF supports these initiatives and intends to continue its engagement with public and private stakeholders with a view to permitting the emergence of a balanced regulatory framework.

In light of the points raised in this paper, stakeholders are invited to contribute to the discussion - in the format of their choice - by 30 September 2023 at innovation [at] (innovation[at]amf-france[dot]org).

About the AMF
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