How to obtain a cryptocurrency license in Ireland

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 Ireland.

Tax Summary:

  1. Personal income tax – from 20% to 4%
  2. Corporate income tax – from 12,5% to 33%

What law/s governs VASP activities?

  1. Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (“CJA“)
  2. Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2021
  3. Central Bank of Ireland Instruction Manual and Guidance Note for entities seeking to register as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (“Guidance“)

What activities are included in VASP services?

VASPs are companies that provide the following services:

  1. Exchange between virtual assets and fiat money.
  2. Exchange between one or more types of virtual assets.
  3. Virtual asset transfer (performing a transaction on behalf of another person that moves a virtual asset from one virtual asset address or account to another).
  4. Providing purses for custodians.
  5. Participation in the provision or provision of financial services related to the offer of an issuer or the sale of a virtual asset.

Who is the VASP regulator?

  1. Central Bank of Ireland

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

In order to legally provide their services in Ireland, companies need to be authorized on the Central Bank of Ireland’s crypto registry. This requires:

  1. Establish a local company.
  2. Have a registered local office.
  3. One of the senior employees must be physically located in Ireland and act as a point of contact.
  4. Submit a pre-registration form to the Central Bank, the purpose of the form is to contact representatives of the Bank to discuss the provision of services in Ireland.
  5. After meeting with the Bank’s representatives, submit a full registration form, which should include: the firm’s details, including the firm’s proposed VASP activities, business model, structure, and regulatory history, the firm’s shareholdings and senior management, including direct and indirect shareholders, partnerships, and management, information about the AML officer (no residency requirements), information about the contact person, the firm’s AML/CFT governance, including the firm’s risk assessment, policies and procedures/procedures, the firm’s AML/CFT governance, including the firm’s risk assessment, policies and procedures.
  6. The following documents must be attached to the registration statement: AML policies, AML officer CV, proof of the company’s physical address in Ireland, business plan, and individual questionnaire for shareholders and top managers of the company.

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

VASPs from other EU member states are not free to provide their services in Ireland and must register with the Central Bank, have a local office, and at least one local staff member to contact the regulator. The registration procedure is described in the previous section. An additional requirement is that such a VASP must provide proof of registration/license in another EU member state.

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

According to the art. 106E of Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2021, conducting business without authorization from the Central Bank is punishable by a fine not exceeding 500 000 euro or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

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.