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The Banque de France plans to cooperate with blockchain startups and develop fintech solutions in the new IT innovation laboratory.

François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, addressing developers at the Paris FinTech Forum reassured that the central bank and the Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) consider innovative digital technologies not only as a disruption of the existing banking system but also as an opportunity for financial services as well as for the entire French and European economy.

“The artificial intelligence and chatbots you are developing will help us respond more effectively to the public’s needs; big data, machine learning and biometrics will help us to better prevent fraud; blockchain technology and smart contracts will help to optimise transactions; and your APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and open source technologies will help to make financial technologies more interoperable,” de Galhau said.

Speaking at the event on 25 January, the official emphasised that digitalisation of the financial sector would help counteract cyber-crimes and speed up the development of e-commerce.

In December, the Banque de France announced it had tested the distributed ledger technology for user identification procedure within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). The first trial took place in July in cooperation with the IT-startup Labo Blockchain, a group of French banks and the Deposits and Consignment Fund (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations).

In April, the Banque de France published a report on financial stability in the era of digitalisation. The research addressed the challenges raised by the blockchain and virtual currency technologies. The regulator noted that the technology was “still very largely in the experimental phase” but admitted that in the perspective it could replace the traditional model of clearing.

Elena Platonova