Cayman Islands` Cryptocurrency Regulation: A Comprehensive Guide

Basic price of incorporation the company with VASP authorization in the Cayman Islands starts from €20,000

Relevant regulation of cryptocurrencies in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority ("CIMA") is responsible for regulating crypto-assets, which are generally equated to "virtual assets" under Cayman Islands law. There is a relatively light-touch licensing regime and registration regime for any person offering "virtual asset services" while conducting business using a Cayman Islands entity or from within the Cayman Islands. Such persons are known as virtual asset service providers ("VASPs"), which are governed by the Virtual Assets (Service Providers) Act 2020 (2022 Revision) ("VASPA").

Cayman Islands has a relatively light-touch regulatory regime for VASPs which are regulated in Virtual Asset (Service Providers) Act (2022 Revision)

Step by step description

Step 1 – Initial Setup:

    We need such preliminary documents from the client for a company incorporation:

  • preferred company name;
  • a business plan;
  • passport copies from all directors and shareholders;
  • utility bills from all directors and shareholders;
  • CVs of shareholders and directors;
  • source of funds confirmation;
  • confirmation letter of business activity.
Duration: from 5 to 10 business days

Step 2 – Registration of the company:

  • Preparation of corporate documents;
  • Filing with the Registrar a registration statement;
  • Company registration;
  • Obtaining a stamped documents and Certificate of Registration.
Duration: there are two procedures available:

1. Standard Procedure - it may take for the Cayman Islands General Registry (“GRCI”) 1 week to process the company registration and issue the Certificate of incorporation.

2. Express Procedure - the GRCI will process the registration of the company in 1 day, upon payment of an additional “express” fee to the GRCI.

Our price for setting up an LLC company is from €5,500

Step 3 – Obtaining of a VASP license:

  • Submission of the license application to the CIMA (can be done through the CIMA's online Regulatory Enhanced Electronic Forms Submission platform ("REEFS"). Individuals must also complete the AML/CFT form, which is also available on the REEFS website.
  • Obtaining a license from CIMA upon payment of the application fee.
  • The documents required for senior officers, directors, shareholders and ultimate beneficial owners for a CIMA registration application:

  • Personal questionnaire;
  • Passport;
  • Proof of address.
  • 2 Character reference letters from a lawyer or certified accountant;
  • Police Clearance certificate from person’s country of residence;
  • Bank Reference letter;
  • CV.
  • The documents required for the business:

  • Business Plan;
  • AML/KYC Manual Policies and Procedures;
  • Cyber Security Program Policy;
  • Customer Private Key Storage Policy;
  • Risk Management Policy;
  • Internal Safeguards and Data Protection Policy;
  • Auditor Consent Letter.
Duration: The registration process can take from 4 to 8 months or longer, depending on the case

Step 4 – Opening a corporate account:

    We can help to open a bank account/EMI for your company.

Duration: approximately from 4 to 5 weeks

Cost: The cost of an accompaniment account opening at the bank is from €4,000. The cost of opening a payment account with EMI is from €2,500

Understanding requirements in the Cayman Islands

A person shall not carry on, or purport to carry on, virtual asset service in or from within the Cayman Islands unless that person:

  • is a registered person (If it wishes to issue virtual assets to the public);
  • in the case of the provision of virtual asset custodial services or the operation of a virtual asset trading platform, holds a virtual asset service license;
  • is an existing licensee that has been granted a waiver from the CIMA under section 16 of VASPA; or
  • holds a sandbox license, in accordance with VASPA.
  • It should be noted that virtual service tokens are not virtual assets and a person or legal arrangement that provides services that involve virtual service tokens only are not required to have a license or registration under VASPA.

    The law has established that it is possible to provide virtual asset services if a person is registered, holds a virtual asset service license for some activities, has a waiver from the CIMA or holds a sandbox license

    Requirements for crypto license registration in the Cayman Islands

    The requirements for the activity of VASPs are:

    • registered office in the Cayman Islands;
    • having proper senior officers, trustees, beneficial owners and appointing such persons only with the approval of of the regulator - the CIMA;
    • complying with AML legislation that deal with ML, TF and PF as well as the implementation of AML systems and procedures and the appointment of an officer responsible for procedures to combat ML, TF and PF;
    • when performing a transfer of virtual assets, a VASP shall collect and maintain information on the beneficiary and originator of the transfer in accordance with the AML law and any additional information specified by the CIMA, for all transfers performed and comply with any other requirements outlined therein;
    • no shares totalling 10 % or more of the total shares in a company which is a VASP under VASPA shall be issued, and no issued shares or interests shall be voluntarily transferred or disposed of, without the prior approval of the CIMA;
    • a VASP shall not engage in securities investment business unless the person is registered or is a licensee under the Securities Investment Business Act (2020 Revision) (“SIBA”) or has been exempted from registration or licensing by the CIMA;
    • providing an audit report, prepared by an independent auditor, on AML systems and procedures for compliance with the AML regulations.
    • In addition, VASPA has specific requirements for each type of virtual asset service activity.

    There is no taxes in regard to activities related to virtual assets

    Taxes in the Cayman Islands

    The Cayman Islands is a classic tax haven with no taxes at all. There is no:

  • corporate income tax;
  • personal income tax;
  • capital gains tax;
  • withholding tax on dividends or interest payments;
  • VAT;
  • payroll tax;
  • property tax;
  • inheritance tax;
  • gift tax or other taxes imposed by the Cayman Islands Government, including with respect to the issuance, holding, or transfer of digital assets.
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    The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter, not to be considered as a legal consultation.