How to obtain a cryptocurrency license in Finland

Regulation of the cryptocurrency market is constantly becoming stricter. Nowadays jurisdictions impose high regulatory and risk management requirements on virtual asset service providers.

Despite this, we always manage to find a solution that suits the client. All the time our team provides research of the market and regulations on various markets to find the best jurisdiction. Recently we have made the global overview of the VASP regulation in EEA and ready to share information with our future and existing clients. Today we will look at the features of obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Finland.

Tax Summary:

  1. Personal income tax – 12,64-44%
  2. Corporate income tax – 20%

What law/s governs VASP activities?

  1. Laki virtuaalivaluutan tarjoajista (“LVT“)
  2. Regulations and guidelines 4/2019: Virtual currency providers

What activities are included in VASP services?

According to 2 § of the LVT:

  1. A virtual currency provider (“VCP“) means a virtual currency issuer, a virtual currency exchange service and a wallet service provider.
  2. A virtual currency issuer is a natural or legal person who issues a virtual currency.
  3. A virtual currency exchange service, practiced by a natural or legal person as a business or professional activity, is:
    • The exchange of a virtual currency into legal tender or another virtual currency as a service.
    • The exchange of a virtual currency into another commodity or the exchange of another commodity into a virtual currency as a service.
    • The operation of a marketplace where a provider’s customers may engage in the activities referred to in points (a) and (b) above.
  4. A wallet provider is a natural or legal person who holds virtual currency for the account of some other party or provides for the transfer or storage of virtual currency.
  5. Virtual currency service means the issuance of virtual currency, the exchange of virtual currency, and the provision of a wallet service.

Who is the VASP regulator?

  1. Financial Supervisory Authority (“FIN-FSA“)

What is the procedure for registering a VASP for a local company?

According to 6 § of the LVT:

The FIN-FSA shall register the notifier as a VCP if:

  1. The applicant is entitled to carry on business in Finland.
  2. The notifier is not bankrupt and, if he is a natural person, he is of full age, has no restrictions on his capacity to act, and has not been appointed a guardian.
  3. The notifier is reliable. The criteria of reliability, and compliance which is necessary for registration, are specified in 7 § of the LVT.

§ 2 of the Act on Business Activities states that business activities may be conducted:

  • A natural person resident in the EEA.
  • A Finnish corporation or foundation.
  • A foreign corporation or foundation established under the law of a state belonging to the EEA and having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business in a state belonging to the EEA.

Requirements for a VCP:

  1. Having a company registered in Finland (LLC).
  2. Detailed business plan.
  3. Assessment of fitness and propriety of the applicant.
  4. Corporate legal documents.
  5. Authorization to practice a trade in Finland.
  6. AML/KYC documents.
  7. 2 500 EUR of share capital for an LLC.

Registration form for VCP.

The registration application must include:

  1. A description of the services to be provided.
  2. The name, identifying and location information of the person submitting the application.
  3. Proof of the right to practice a trade, such as an extract from the Trade Register, the Register of Associations to the Register of Foundations.
  4. An extract from the Register of Bankruptcies and Reorganisations, issued by the Legal Register Centre.
  5. If the person submitting the application is a natural person, an extract from the Guardianship Register.
  6. An extract from the Business Prohibition Register issued by the Legal Register Centre.
  7. The applicant’s report on fitness and propriety, and if the person submitting the application is a legal person, a report of the fitness and propriety of the company’s management (fit & proper form VC (fi) (sv) (en)).
  8. A statement on the holding and protection of client money (including e.g. risk assessment).
  9. Information on the marketing of services to be provided to customers (such as terms and conditions of agreement).
  10. Information on customer identification and customer due diligence procedures, risk management systems and the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, including e.g..
  11. A risk assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing.
  12. Operating guidelines regarding customer due diligence procedures and obtaining customer information, ongoing monitoring and the obligation to obtain information as well as compliance with the reporting obligation.
  13. A description of how responsibilities have been assigned in the applicant’s organization for duties relating to preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.
  14. A description of the training and protection of employees.

The FIN-FSA will obtain extracts required for registration from the Register of Crimes and Sanctions as well as Compliance Reports. 

The registration application together with statements attached to it must be submitted either in Finnish or Swedish. Submission of documents written in another language must be agreed with FIN-FSA in advance.

Is there any specific authorization required for a VASP from another EU member state to provide services in this jurisdiction?

4 § LVT establishes the following – a trader may only offer virtual currency services if it is registered as a VCP under the LVT.

What is the liability for the activities of a VASP from another EU member state without local registration/authorization in this jurisdiction?

15 § LVT states that:

The FIN-FSA shall prohibit the provision of virtual currency services that is carried out without registration in violation of the LVT. The prohibition may, where there are specific grounds for doing so, also be imposed on a person employed by or acting on behalf of a person engaging in such activities.

The prohibition shall be reinforced by a penalty payment, unless this is unnecessary for a special reason. The right of the FIN-FSA to impose a public warning is laid down in the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority.


Manimama Legal & Growth Agency provides a gateway for the companies operating as the virtual asset wallet and exchange providers allowing to enter to the markets legally. We are ready to offer an appropriate support in obtaining a license with lower founding and operating costs. We offer KYC/AML launch, support in risk assessment, legal services, legal opinions, advice on general data protection provisions, contracts and all necessary legal and business tools to start business of virtual asset service provider.


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, not to be considered as a legal consultation. 

Finland – current regulatory measures for Virtual assets

The cryptocurrency market has been and remains one of the fastest growing area of finance around the world.

The development of cryptocurrencies, various types of tokens invariably positions various govenments to seek to set a controling framework of this area of ​​the financial market in order to make it more predictable, regulated, and also to prevent the risks associated with the volatility of cryptocurrencies and opportunities for money laundering and terrorist financing.

Finland decided to follow the example of other countries and adopted a separate legislative act at the national level with the aim of regulating issues related to the circulation of crypto assets.

Legislative measures

The active development of the regulation of virtual assets in the countries of the European Union began after the adoption of the joint proposal of the European Parliament and the European Commission “On Cryptoasset Markets” on September 24, 2020. However, Finland was concerned about the regulation of crypto markets a little earlier and adopted the Law “On Virtual Currency Providers” (hereinafter referred to as the Law), which came into force on May 1, 2019. The said Law governs the following:

  • rules and procedures for issuing virtual currency,
  • the procedure for providing virtual currency exchange services; as well as
  • the procedure for providing custodial wallet services.

Article 2 of the law in established what should be considered a cryptocurrency; accordingly, a cryptocurrency is a measure of value in digital form, which:

  • was not issued by the central bank of any state or other government body;
  • is not legal tender;
  • is a means of payment;
  • may be transferred, stored or exchanged electronically.

Despite the presence of a definition in the Law, at the moment there is no difference at the legislative level between different types of cryptocurrencies, and different types of tokens (for example, utility or security tokens) are not defined. Therefore, the question of whether a particular crypto asset or token falls under the scope of the Law on Providers of Virtual Currency must always be considered on a case-by-case basis analysis.

Regulator and Authorization

In Finland, issues related to supervision and regulation of the financial sector are regulated by a separate body — the Financial Supervisory Authority, or FIN-FSA to be shorter. According to the Law and related regulations, in order to carry out the abovermentioned activities, individuals and legal entities must register with FIN-FSA. Registration is mandatory for – “virtual currency exchange services”, “custodian wallet providers,” and “issuers of virtual currencies.”.

At the moment, there are only 3 exceptions in Finnish law, in which a person who is engaged in activities related to crypto assets should not be registered. Entities who carry out the following services are exempted from registration:

  • provision of services with virtual currency in a limited or closed network;
  • provision of virtual currency services not on a permanent basis in connection with the implementation of other activities that require separate licensing, registration or authorization;
  • carrying out activities with virtual assets that are issued by government agencies.

The full list of registered virtual asset service providers are open to public and can be accessed on the FIN-FSA’s website in the section ‘Registers’ under ‘Lists of supervised entities’.

The main problem regarding the implementation of virtual currencies in Finland is that, according to the Law, registration in FIN-FSA can only be obtained by a person who has the right to do business in Finland, which forces such a person to go through additional bureaucratic procedures to carry out activities, as well as register a company or a branch in Finland. Also among the mandatory requirements in the Law there are provisions on the marketing of the services of a virtual currency provider. Thus, the registrant is obliged to provide clients with information that may concern them, while the scope of such information must be determined in each specific case and in relation to each of the clients. Providing false or other information that is misleading is prohibited, as well as other unfair or discriminatory treatment of the client.

For registration it is necessary to submit an application for registration to FIN-FSA by means of a written application for registration in Finnish or Swedish along with the required documents. It is also possible to submit an application with attachments in other languages, however, this requires prior approval from FIN-FSA.

Registration is required to ensure customers that virtual currency providers comply with their legal requirements regarding:

  • reliability of the provider, which consists in its compliance with legal requirements;
  • storage and protection of clients’ money in accordance with applicable law;
  • separating the funds of the provider and the funds of customers that he receives in connection with the activities carried out;
  • compliance and continued compliance by the provider with marketing requirements;
  • compliance by the provider with the legislation on combating money laundering and the countering terrorism finacing.

Going forward, only virtual currency providers meeting statutory requirements can continue their activities in Finland. Virtual currency providers failing to comply with statutory requirements will not be allowed to do business in Finland, conditional fine might be enforced against them.

Findings

Делая выводы из вышеизложенной информации, следует сказать, что, несмотря на принятое национальное законодательство, следует также обратить внимание на законодательство ЕС в отношении криптовалют с учетом специфики правовой системы ЕС. Основной проблемой предоставления услуг с виртуальными валютами в Финляндии является проблема с трансграничным оказанием таких услуг, что вытекает из требования иметь компанию или филиал в Финляндии. Поэтому сейчас необходимо внимательно следить за развивающейся правовой базой в ЕС, особенно за процессом принятия регламента «О рынках криптоактивов», который позволит вам более тщательно прогнозировать развитие бизнеса и оценивать риски, если вы хотите работать в Финляндии.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, not to be considered as a legal consultation.


Photo credits