Regulations for Crypto license in Lithuania

Lithuania offers a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrency businesses to ensure transparency, security, and compliance with international standards. The main regulatory body overseeing crypto activities is the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS).

Virtual Asset Service Providers (virtual currency exchange operator and depository virtual currency wallet operator), or hereafter VASP licensed companies in Lithuania, are supervised by Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS, in Lithuanian: Finansinių nusikaltimų tyrimo tarnyba or FNTT).

To secure a crypto license in Lithuania, establishing a private limited company (UAB) is mandatory for those looking to offer cryptocurrency exchange or custodial services. Following recent legislative updates effective from November 1, 2022, any new crypto business must allocate a minimum share capital of 125,000 EUR.

Additionally to that, legislation has led to the creation of dedicated register for crypto business in Lithuania, mandating the appointment of a designated local Senior Manager (director) and AML Officer.

Below is a detailed overview of the regulations and requirements for obtaining and maintaining a crypto license in Lithuania in 2024.

1. Legal and Regulatory Framework

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

This law is fundamental in ensuring that cryptocurrency businesses operate within the legal boundaries set to prevent illicit activities. Key provisions include:

  • KYC Requirements: Implementing robust Know Your Customer (KYC) processes to verify the identity of customers. This includes collecting and verifying personal identification information and maintaining accurate records.
  • AML Policies: Developing and implementing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies to detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. This involves continuous monitoring of transactions and reporting suspicious activities to the FCIS.
  • Risk Assessment: Conducting regular risk assessments to identify and mitigate potential risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing.

Law on Electronic Money and Electronic Money Institutions

Although primarily targeting electronic money institutions, this law is relevant for cryptocurrency service providers, particularly those offering payment services.

  • Licensing Requirements: Cryptocurrency businesses in Lithuania must obtain the necessary licenses if they engage in activities similar to those of electronic money institutions.
  • Capital Requirements: Businesses seeking for crypto license in Lithuania must demonstrate sufficient capital to ensure financial stability and support their operations.
  • Operational Standards: Ensuring compliance with operational standards, including safeguarding customer funds and maintaining the integrity of payment systems.

Guidelines by the Bank of Lithuania

The Bank of Lithuania provides additional guidance on regulatory compliance. These include:

  • Compliance Framework: Establishing a comprehensive compliance framework encompassing AML, KYC, and risk management procedures.
  • Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD): Conducting enhanced due diligence for high-risk customers, including politically exposed persons (PEPs) and individuals from high-risk jurisdictions.
  • Transaction Monitoring: Implementing effective transaction monitoring systems to detect and report suspicious activities.
2. Licensing Process

Licensing Process

To operate a cryptocurrency business in Lithuania, entities must follow a structured licensing process:

Company Registration

Register a legal entity in Lithuania through the Lithuanian Centre of Registers. The company must have a local office and at least one director residing in Lithuania.

Preparation of Documentation

  • AML/KYC Policies: Develop comprehensive AML and KYC policies and procedures.
  • Organizational Structure: Provide information on the company’s organizational structure, including the roles and responsibilities of key personnel.
  • Shareholders and Beneficial Owners: Submit details of shareholders and ultimate beneficial owners.

Application Submission

Submit the complete application package to the FCIS for review. This includes all required documentation and compliance policies. FCIS then conducts background checks on the company’s directors, shareholders, and beneficial owners to assess their suitability and integrity.

Approval and Issuance

The FCIS reviews the application and, if all requirements are met, issues the crypto license. The review process typically takes a few months, depending on the complexity of the application and the responsiveness of the applicant.

3. Ongoing Compliance and Reporting

Ongoing Compliance and Reporting

Licensed crypto businesses in Lithuania are required to maintain continuous compliance with regulatory standards:

Regular Reporting

  • Periodic Reports: Submit periodic reports to the FCIS detailing business operations, transaction volumes, and compliance activities.
  • Audit Requirements: Conduct annual audits to ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory standards.

AML/CTF Program Updates

  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly update and improve AML/CTF programs to address new risks and changes in the regulatory environment.
  • Employee Training: Provide ongoing training for employees to ensure they are aware of AML/CTF policies and can effectively identify and report suspicious activities.

Data Protection

Ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect personal data and privacy of customers.

4. Regulatory Supervision and Enforcement

Regulatory Supervision and Enforcement

The FCIS actively supervises licensed crypto businesses in Lithuania to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. Non-compliance can result in enforcement actions, including fines, license suspension, or revocation.

Types of crypto licensing in Lithuania

In Lithuania, there are two distinct types of authorisations available for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs): virtual cryptocurrency exchange license and custodian license for crypto wallets. That said, Lithuania has established a clear and structured regulatory framework for cryptocurrency activities, offering various types of licenses to cater to different business models within the crypto industry. Here is an overview of the main types of crypto licenses available in Lithuania in 2024:

License typeDescription of license
Virtual Currency Exchange Operator LicenseThis authorisation or license is for legal entities established in the Republic of Lithuania that offer services related to the exchange of virtual/crypto currencies, including the buying and/or selling of such currencies for a fee. Key Requirements:
  • Company Registration: Must be a legally registered entity in Lithuania.
  • Capital Requirements: Minimum capital is 125k EUR.
  • AML/KYC Compliance: Must implement robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
  • Data Protection: Compliance with GDPR for the protection of personal data.
  • Regular Reporting: Submission of regular reports to the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS).
Custodial Wallet Service Provider LicenseThis type of crypto license in Lithuania is granted to legal entities that provide custodial services for virtual/crypto currency wallets on behalf of their clients, managing these wallets under custodianship. Key Requirements:
  • Company Registration: Must be a legally registered entity in Lithuania.
  • Capital Requirements: The minimum share capital is 125k EUR.
  • Security Measures: Implementation of strong cybersecurity measures to protect clients’ assets.
  • AML/KYC Compliance: Robust AML and KYC procedures to verify client identities and monitor transactions.
  • Regular Audits: Periodic audits to ensure the integrity and security of the custodial services.

Overview of requirements to obtain crypto license in Lithuania

  • Registered company with business activity related to virtual assets
  • Registered share capital of 125 000 EUR
  • Prepare AML/KYC policy and other internal documents in accordance to your business model
  • Appoint and register in the tax office local Lithuanian AML Officer with valid certification
  • Appoint and register in the tax office Senior Manager (director)
  • Reputation requirements, clean non-criminal record (not older than 3 months)

Estimated time frames

Business name verification

1-2 days

Company formation

1-2 weeks

Documents preparation

2 weeks

Depositing and registering share capital

1 week

Crypto license obtainment from FCIS

1-2 weeks*

* The timeline also depends on the workload of FCIS and any clarifications and queries that FCIS may request in relation to the application

Legal services for obtaining Crypto license in Lithuania

Basic Package

5500EUR initial set up

  • UAB Company registration
  • Provision of Legal Address for 1 year
  • Corporate documents
  • AML/KYC Policy (Anti-Money Laundering/Know Your Customer)
  • Registration as licensed VASP (crypto) provider
  • Communication with regulator authorities
  • Assistance with employment of AML officer and Senior Manager
  • Legal Support throughout the entire project

This package meets the minimum regulatory requirements for establishing a licensed VASP company

Additional services on request

  • Accounting services
  • Additional corporate account
  • Assistance with share capital contribution
  • Bank account for keeping client’s funds (safeguard)
  • Apostilled corporate documents
  • Business plan
  • AML/CFT Training material
  • Legal framework for launching Your Token

Ready-Made solution

available on request

  • Registered company
  • Legal address for 1 year
  • No debts, no liabilities – clean company
  • Registered share capital 125,000 EUR
  • Active license
  • Corporate documents
  • Assistance with transfer of ownership

Eriks Fijalovs

Head of Blockchain and Crypto

Detailed Requirements for Crypto licensing in Lithuania in 2024

List of Required Documents

  • Power Of Attorney: This is a legal document that grants authority to a designated person or entity to act on behalf of another individual or company.
    • Purpose: Allows a representative (e.g., a law firm or consultancy such as Legalaes) to handle the incorporation of the company and the crypto license application process in Lithuania.
    • Requirements: Must be authorized by a public notary and legalized if issued outside of Lithuania.
    • Use Case: Essential for foreign business owners who may not be physically present in Lithuania to manage the licensing process.
  • AML/KYC/CFT Policy: A comprehensive policy detailing the company’s measures to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, and to ensure customer verification. Compotents:
    • AML (Anti-Money Laundering): Procedures to detect and prevent money laundering activities.
    • KYC (Know Your Customer): Processes for verifying the identity of clients, including the collection of identification documents and background checks.
    • CFT (Countering the Financing of Terrorism): Measures to identify and prevent the financing of terrorist activities.
    • Implementation: Includes customer due diligence (CDD), ongoing monitoring, and suspicious activity reporting.
    • Regulatory Requirement: Must comply with Lithuanian and EU regulations and be approved by the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS).
  • Application Form: This is a formal document submitted to the FCIS as part of the licensing application. Contents:
    • Nature of Business: Detailed description of the primary and secondary activities of the crypto company.
    • Business Operations: Explanation of how and where the business activities will be carried out.
    • Compliance Information: Descriptions of the company’s compliance mechanisms, including AML/KYC policies.
    • Submission: The application form must be complete, accurate, and submitted along with other required documents.
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA): These are legal documents created during the company incorporation process.
    • Memorandum of Association: It outlines the company’s purpose, initial shareholders, and share capital.
    • Articles of Association: It defines the company’s governance structure, including the roles and responsibilities of directors and shareholders.
    • Purpose: Represents the charter of the company and is a fundamental document for legal and operational clarity.

Share Capital and Government Fees

  • Minimum Share Capital: The minimum registered share capital for a crypto company in Lithuania is EUR 125,000.
    • There are flexible arrangements where the share capital does not need to be fully deposited immediately, offering financial flexibility to startups.
    • No Ongoing Monitoring: Unlike other jurisdictions, there is no requirement to continuously monitor or maintain a specific amount of own funds post-licensing.
  • Government Fees
    • Company Registration Fee: EUR 30.83 for registering a company in the form of a UAB (private limited company).
    • VASP License Application Fee: No application fee for the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license in Lithuania.

Personnel Requirements

  • AML Officer: An AML officer is a designated individual responsible for overseeing AML compliance within the company.
    • Qualifications: Must be certified and possess knowledge and experience in AML regulations and practices.
    • Residency: Can be a local resident or a foreign individual with a permanent or temporary residency permit in Lithuania.
    • Registration: Must be officially registered in the company’s organizational structure.
  • Director: This is a senior manager or director responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the company.
    • Qualifications: Relevant experience and/or education in finance, blockchain technology, or related fields.
    • Residency: No restriction on residency; the director can be a resident of any country.
    • Responsibilities: Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, overseeing operations, and implementing the business plan.

Business premises requirements

  • Physical Office Requirement: Crypto-licensed companies in Lithuania are required to have a local physical office.
    • Virtual Offices: Utilization of virtual office services that provide a registered address without the need for physical office space.
    • Coworking Spaces: Renting coworking spaces can fulfill the requirement for a local office presence without the cost of a full office rental.
    • Compliance: The chosen option must be legitimate and verifiable to meet regulatory standards.

By meeting these requirements, crypto businesses can successfully obtain a crypto license in Lithuania, positioning themselves in a well-regulated and supportive environment for cryptocurrency operations.

Roadmap of obtaining crypto exchange license in Lithuania

In Lithuania, engaging in business activities related to virtual assets, requires VASP license based on the business specific nature, as outlined by Financial Crime Investigation Service. Lithuanian regulations expressly allow foreign entities to operate business activities within Lithuania under the same conditions and to the same extent as Lithuanian entities.

For more detailed road map of the project and commercial offer – get in touch with our crypto professional.

Eriks Fijalovs

Head of Blockchain and Crypto

1

Gathering Documentation

Collaborating with responsible stakeholders to collect the necessary documentation for the company formation process. This involves obtaining a passport and proof of address, verifying and reserving the company name with Registrų centras (Center of Registers), preparing a business model description, and sending a Power of Attorney (PoA) for notarisation and legalisation.

2

UAB company registration as Virtual Asset Service Provider and share capital contribution

Forming a UAB company can be done remotely or with physical presence, including opening an operational bank account and contributing a minimum share capital of 25%. The process is confirmed by a notary, and the company’s business activity is registered as a Virtual Asset Service Provider. Necessary documents are provided by Registrų centras, translated, notarised, and apostilled.

3

Internal policies and HR services

Assisting with compliance by addressing questions related to risk appetites, customer geography, and business nature. Establishing due-diligence measures and preparing AML/KYC/CFT policies. Additionally, we assist in finding a virtual office, local director, and AML officer, and registering them with the Tax Office – SoDra.

4

Application Submission

Filling out and submitting application forms to FCIS, ensuring all requirements are met and notified to FCIS. This stage ensures the complete submission of the application to the regulatory authorities.

5

Crypto Friendly Corporate account opening

Analysing the company’s business activity to present suitable crypto-friendly bank options. Collecting necessary documentation from both the customer and the company, preparing additional documents if required by the bank, and guiding the client through the application and onboarding process until the account is opened.

6

Operational Launch

Marking the start of operations within the Lithuanian regulatory framework, we provide ongoing support in accounting services, drafting agreements and policies, opening additional bank accounts, offering legal opinions and support, HR services, tax consulting, and ensuring compliance monitoring and regulatory reporting to adhere to FCIS guidelines.

Detailed Time Frames to Obtain a Crypto License in Lithuania in 2024

Obtaining a crypto license in Lithuania involves a detailed and structured process. The timeline can vary based on the type of license, the completeness of the application, and the efficiency of regulatory review. Here is an estimated timeline for each step in the licensing process:

1.  Company Registration

Time Frame: 1-2 Weeks

2.  Preparation of Documentation

Time Frame: 1-2 Weeks

3.  Submission to the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS)

Time Time: Immediate upon completion of documentation preparation

Submit the complete application package to the FCIS, including all required documents and compliance policies.

4.  Review and Background Checks by FCIS

Time Frame: 1 Week

5.  Approval and Issuance of License

Time Frame: 1 Week

Total Estimated Time Frame

Time Time: 1-2 months

The entire process of obtaining a crypto license in Lithuania typically takes between 1 to 2 months. This timeline can vary depending on factors such as the type of license, the completeness and accuracy of the submitted application, and the efficiency of the regulatory review process.

Factors Influencing the Time Frame

Advantages of the VASP license in Lithuania

Obtaining a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license in Lithuania offers numerous benefits, making it an attractive destination for cryptocurrency businesses. Here are the key advantages:

Links for legislation related to Crypto business in Lithuania

Serves as Lithuania’s premier agency tasked with investigating economic and financial crimes, including fraud, money laundering, and corruption, to uphold the integrity of the financial system and enforce compliance with financial regulations.

II. AML Act

Sets the foundation for preventing money laundering and terrorism financing in Lithuania, mandating rigorous customer due diligence, risk assessment, and reporting of suspicious activities by financial entities, including VASPs.

Outlines the obligation for Virtual Asset Service Providers to submit detailed operational and transactional reports, reinforcing transparency and aiding in the fight against financial crimes.

Governs the formation, operation, and dissolution of companies in Lithuania, emphasising corporate governance, transparency, and accountability to foster a trustworthy business environment.

Regulates financial institutions by establishing licensing, operational guidelines, and prudential norms, ensuring the sector’s stability and consumer protection.

Adapts Lithuania’s regulations to EU standards for financial markets, focusing on transparency, fairness, and investor protection to enhance market integrity and efficiency.

Lithuania crypto license regulatory body

Financial Crime Investigation Service under The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania

Taxation of Cryptocurrency Companies in Lithuania in 2024

Lithuania offers a competitive tax environment for cryptocurrency companies, aligning its tax policies with broader European Union (EU) regulations while also providing specific guidelines for the crypto sector. Here is a detailed overview of the taxation framework for cryptocurrency businesses operating in Lithuania in 2024.

1. Corporate Income Tax

1. Corporate Income Tax

Standard Corporate Tax Rate

The standard corporate income tax rate in Lithuania is 15%. This rate applies to all corporate entities, including cryptocurrency businesses.

Cryptocurrency companies face a 15% profit tax, but smaller firms with under ten employees and annual gross revenues below 300,000 euros can qualify for a reduced corporate tax rate of 0-5%.

Taxable Income

Taxable income for cryptocurrency companies includes profits from all business activities, such as trading cryptocurrencies, providing exchange services, and offering digital wallets.

Expenses related to the business, including operational costs, salaries, and certain capital expenditures, can be deducted from taxable income.

2. Value-Added Tax (VAT)

2. Value-Added Tax (VAT)

VAT Exemptions

According to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling in the Hedqvist case, cryptocurrency transactions involving the exchange of traditional currencies for cryptocurrencies (and vice versa) are exempt from VAT.

VAT is not subjected to virtual currency exchanges and wallet services are not classified as financial services.

This exemption applies to services related to the trading of cryptocurrencies but not to the sale of goods and services priced in cryptocurrency, which are subject to standard VAT rules.

Standard VAT Rate

The standard VAT rate in Lithuania is 21%. This applies to the sale of goods and services, including those purchased using cryptocurrency.

3. Personal Income Tax

3. Personal Income Tax

Income from Cryptocurrency

For individuals, income derived from cryptocurrency activities, such as trading or mining, is subject to personal income tax.

The tax rate is progressive, with rates of 20% on annual income up to EUR 120,000 and 32% on income exceeding this threshold.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains from the sale of cryptocurrency are treated as part of personal income and taxed accordingly. Consequently, losses from cryptocurrency transactions can be offset against gains in the same tax year.

4. Social Security Contributions

4. Social Security Contributions

Employee Contributions

Employees working for cryptocurrency companies in Lithuania are subject to social security contributions. The employee’s contribution rate is 19.5%.

Employers are required to pay additional contributions at a rate of approximately 1.77% to 3.03% depending on various factors, including the nature of the work.

5. Tax Incentives and Deductions

5. Tax Incentives and Deductions

Research and Development (R&D) Incentives

Cryptocurrency companies engaging in R&D activities can benefit from tax incentives, including the ability to deduct up to three times the amount of eligible R&D expenses from taxable income.

Additional tax reliefs may be available for innovative projects and technological advancements.

Startup Incentives

Startups, including those in the cryptocurrency sector, may be eligible for various incentives such as reduced corporate tax rates, grants, and subsidies provided they meet specific criteria.

6. Reporting and Compliance

6. Reporting and Compliance

Annual Tax Returns

Cryptocurrency companies must file annual corporate tax returns with the Lithuanian State Tax Inspectorate (STI). The deadline for submission is the 15th day of the sixth month following the end of the tax year.

Detailed records of all transactions, including cryptocurrency trades, must be maintained and made available for tax inspections.

VAT Returns

VAT-registered businesses must submit monthly or quarterly VAT returns, depending on their turnover. These returns must include detailed information on taxable and exempt transactions.

7. International Considerations

7. International Considerations

Double Taxation Treaties

Lithuania has signed double taxation treaties with numerous countries to prevent double taxation of income. Cryptocurrency businesses with international operations can benefit from these treaties to avoid being taxed twice on the same income.

Transfer Pricing

Cryptocurrency companies engaged in transactions with related parties must comply with Lithuanian transfer pricing rules to ensure that transactions are conducted at arm’s length. Proper documentation is required to support transfer pricing practices.

FAQ about Crypto license in Lithuania

1. How to get a crypto license in Lithuania?

Our lawyers have prepared detailed description of the whole process.
In short words: collect documents to establish a company in Lithuania, deposit and register share capital, prepare AML/KYC policy, appoint local AML officer and director, apply for license

2. How long does it take to obtain crypto (VASP) license in Lithuania?

Whole process can be done within 6-8 weeks, including opening UAB company, deposit and register share capital, prepare documentation for application process and await valid answers (license) from FCIS.

3. How much is share capital for crypto company in Lithuania?

From 1st of November 2022 requirement is to deposit 125,000 EUR.

4. Is it possible to open crypto friendly bank account?

Yes, it is possible to open multiple accounts with Lithuanian VASP license, mainly with European EMI’s (Electronic Money Institutions) , our company have partnership with 15+ crypto friendly EU banks, from which client can choose by their own preferences.

5. What types of crypto licenses are available in Lithuania?

Lithuania offers several types of crypto licenses, primarily focusing on Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). These include licenses for:

  • Cryptocurrency Exchange Services: Allowing the exchange of virtual assets to fiat currencies and vice versa.
  • Cryptocurrency Wallet Services: Enabling the storage and management of virtual assets on behalf of clients.
  • ICO and Token Offerings: Licensing for Initial Coin Offerings and other token-based fundraising activities.

6. What are the key regulatory bodies overseeing crypto licenses in Lithuania?

The primary regulatory authority for cryptocurrency businesses in Lithuania is the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS), which ensures compliance with AML/KYC regulations and other financial laws.

7. What documents are required to apply for a crypto license in Lithuania?

Key documents include:

  • Power of Attorney: If using a representative for the application process.
  • AML/KYC/CFT Policies: Detailed procedures for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Application Form: Completed form submitted to the FCIS.
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA): Legal documents for company incorporation.

8. What are the ongoing compliance requirements for licensed crypto businesses in Lithuania?

Ongoing compliance includes:

  • Regular Reporting: Submission of periodic reports to the FCIS.
  • AML/KYC Updates: Continuous improvement of AML and KYC policies.
  • Audits: Periodic audits to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Consumer Protection Measures: Ensuring transparent terms of service and secure handling of customer funds.

9. Do I need a physical office in Lithuania to obtain a crypto license?

Yes, there is a requirement for a local physical office. However, virtual office services or coworking spaces can be utilized to meet this requirement.

10. What are the tax implications for crypto companies in Lithuania?

Lithuania offers a competitive corporate tax rate of 15%, with potential reductions to 5% for small businesses under certain conditions. There are no special taxes on cryptocurrencies, providing a favorable tax environment.

11. What are the personnel requirements for a crypto licensed company in Lithuania?

Key personnel requirements include:

  • AML Officer: A certified local AML Officer with knowledge of AML regulations.
  • Director: An experienced individual in finance or blockchain technology, with no residency restrictions.

12, Can foreign nationals or entities apply for a crypto license in Lithuania?

Yes, foreign nationals and entities can apply for a crypto license in Lithuania. They may need to appoint a local representative or director and establish a local office.

13. How can I ensure my application for a crypto license in Lithuania is successful?

To ensure a successful application:

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Ensure all documents are complete and accurate.
  • Engage Local Experts: Work with local legal and financial advisors like ourselves here at Legalaes
  • Respond Promptly: Address any queries or requests from the FCIS quickly.
  • Maintain Compliance: Establish robust AML/KYC policies.

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