Why AMF wants to encourage “responsible” crypto influencers

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

Hasheur, TefeurS, Caroline Jurado… In a few years, France has seen the emergence of more and more crypto-influencers, sometimes followed by hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Some simply popularize the cryptocurrency ecosystem, others offer advice on investing in cryptocurrencies. But many problems arise when an influencer sends a message on social networks: is he transparent about his identity? Is there a possible conflict of interest? Does he really know the economy or the cryptocurrency ecosystem? Is his point sincere or is he aiming to deceive his target? Although the cryptocurrency ecosystem is gaining momentum – 8% of the French have already invested in cryptocurrencies in 2021 – not everyone has a benevolent approach, some sometimes seek to cheat their audience.

Protect investors

For an internet user who wants to know how to invest in crypto-assets, as well as for a brand that wants to establish a partnership 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” and noted 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 certificate of ethical and responsible influence from ARPP 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, gambling, etc.), and that it is transparent to its audiences about its commercial collaborations”, we can read on the organisation’s website.

Specifically, after following an online module on these topics, the influencer must validate his certificate by answering a questionnaire and having 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 concerned many economic areas (fashion, beauty, luxury, etc.) . ) did not currently concern the financial sector.

This is settled during 2022/2023. In fact, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and the ARPP have announced that they want to extend this certificate to the field of finance, and in particular cryptocurrencies.

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

The module specific to financing will be based on ARPP’s generalist model. On the page, it is mentioned that the certificate makes it possible to ensure that the influencer has followed a course of awareness of the organization’s “deotonological recommendations” as well as proving his good knowledge of the topic he is evoking with his community. .

The page mentions in particular the Financial Services Recommendations from 2017, which refer to the ICC Code on Advertising and Commercial Communications of the International Chamber of Commerce.

“Thus, advertising promises for products or services within the framework must not in any way: minimize the risk, portray the use of such products or services as a game, or proceed to an analogy between games and the products or services covered by this recommendation. ” , you can read.

Contacted by BFM Crypto, some crypto influencers with a strong community confirmed that they would naturally comply with the process to obtain such a certificate.

The certificate will not allow the sale of financial products

This certificate, which gives a certain credibility to influencers, will in no way validate the content of influencers, AMF reminds BFM Crypto. It will also not allow influencers to sell financial products to their customers. It is therefore clear to distinguish AMF certification which allows a financial professional to sell financial products to his clients.

Last October, AMF had already done recommendations in investment in social media.

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

Here, AMF first of all questioned the skills of certain influencers.

“Faced with the resurgence of investment recommendations or recommendations of trade pages from influencers on social networks, the AMF’s Investor Relations and Protection Department (DREP) calls for vigilance: it is advisable to question the financial skills of these people who present themselves as experts, the sincerity and disinterested nature of these prescriptions, the remuneration of which is not always clearly stated”, we could also read.

Despite the future implementation of such a certificate, it is the Directorate General of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) that remains competent when it comes to sanctioning influencers in cases of derivatives.

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 commercial practices” on social networks (promoting a commercial training website on Snapchat in 2018) accompanied by an advertising measure.

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