As cryptocurrency transitions from speculative investment to a balanced portfolio stablemate, governments worldwide remain divided on how to regulate the emerging asset class.
With the growing number of crypto-asset service providers (CASPs) in the EU, and in light of today’s global challenges, as well as the increased risk of money laundering and terrorist financing with virtual currencies, there have been calls for the European Union’s institutions to speed up the process of implementing the Regulation on Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA).
The Lithuanian government has amended the cryptocurrency market’s regulation to combat the risk of money laundering. New legislative amendments to cryptocurrency companies’ anti-money laundering (AML) and financial fraud countering (CTF) policies will alter the process of identifying customers and prohibit the use of completely anonymous accounts.
The Lithuanian government has decided to revise the AML/CTF Law to improve transparency and the growth of the country’s cryptocurrency sector. The new amendments proposed by the Lithuanian Ministry of Finance, the FCIS and the Central Bank provide more detailed regulation of virtual currency exchanges and virtual currency money operators in Lithuania.
Although Lithuania has been ranked among the top countries for cryptocurrency companies, the country believes this measure was necessary to respond to recent events in the region, particularly the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.
This new law amendment has brought fear into the crypto community in Lithuania and across Europe, as there are concerns that it might be similar to the Estonia case.
Is Lithuania Following After Estonia’s Footsteps?
Estonia is one of the EU’s smallest members, with a population smaller than Hawaii, the tech-friendly nation, but an outsize presence in the crypto scene.
Already the home of digital unicorns such as Wise, Bolt, and Skype, Estonia was able to claim 55% of the world’s registered virtual asset providers last year, thanks to an advanced regulatory regime and a system that provided e-residency to entrepreneurs who had never set foot in the country.
However, thanks to a new licensing regime agreed upon by lawmakers in December 2021, that all changed.
The legislation requires crypto firms, such as wallet providers and exchanges, to maintain substantial capital reserves, to be properly governed, and verify customer identities. Even though it went into effect in March, existing businesses had until mid-June to renew their authorization, for which they had to submit business plans, internal policies and financial data.
This was due to the fact that many crypto companies registered in the country had little number of employees based there and paid little taxes.
Since then the number of new licenses has dropped from 1305 in 2019 to just 81 in 2021. This represents a significant downtrend due to the new regulations.
Gofaizen & Sherle to Help Businesses Manage the New Realities
Gofaizen & Sherle, an international legal and management consulting firm based in Europe, has taken the initiative to help businesses navigate these new regulations in light of the strengthened supervision of the cryptocurrency sector by the new Lithuania. Regulators in Lithuania state that these new laws will become effective in November 2022. The nation will also forbid anonymous accounts and set stricter guidelines for customer identification.
The Gofaizen & Sherle team began with legal and business professionals and has more than doubled in the last year. It now has a team of highly qualified experts who can help with all aspects of starting a new business, including legal and financial advice, business analysis, and product development. In addition, it offers customers a comprehensive approach to their needs. The figures speak for themselves: Gofaizen & Sherle clients have obtained over 200 financial licenses in European, American, and Asian jurisdictions, and they rely on its assistance as they expand their businesses into new markets.
Since its inception in September 2021, the company has amassed a portfolio of over 535 projects for over 400 clients from all over the world.
To serve more businesses, the company intends to expand its presence in new markets by developing useful fintech products that will make business operations easier and more efficient. For instance, acquiring, accounting, and other quick and easy crypto business tools.
By leveraging Gofaizen, crypto-related companies can strategically position themselves to continue thriving even with the recent regulations that promise to drive many companies down.