How to obtain a cryptocurrency license in Italy

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 Italy.

Tax Summary:

  1. Personal income tax – from 23 to 43%
  2. Corporate income tax – 27.9% 

What law/s governs VASP activities?

  1.  Decree no. 125 of 2019 
  2. Decree no. 90 of 2017 
  3. Decree No. 141 of 13 August 2010
  4. Decree 13 January 2022

What activities are included in VASP services?

Decree 13 January 2022 (art. 1) applies to two categories of activities regarding virtual assets – VASP and e-wallet providers:

  1. VASPs are defined as providers of services related to the use of digital currency, i.e., individuals and legal entities that provide to third parties, online and on a professional basis, services concerning digital currencies. This includes the use, exchange or custody of digital currencies or their conversion into fiat currencies or other digital representations of value, including those convertible into other digital currencies. It also includes the issuance, offer, transfer and offsetting, or any other service useful for the purchase, trade or brokerage of digital currencies.
  2. Digital wallet service providers: i.e., any natural person or legal person who provides third parties, on a professional basis, including online, with services for the safeguarding of private cryptographic keys on behalf of their clients, to hold, store and transfer virtual currencies.

Who is the VASP regulator?

  1. Ministry of Economy and Finance 
  2. Organismo per gli agenti e mediatori (“OAM“)

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

In order to legally provide VASP services in Italy, it is necessary to be registered in a special crypto-registry maintained by the OAM. In order to enter the registry it is necessary (for legal entities, in accordance with the Decree of 13 January 2022, art. 3):

  1. Have a registered company (LLC).
  2. Have a physical address of the company (no minimum capital requirements for registration).
  3. Send an electronic application in a satisfactory form to the OAM stating the following:
    • Name of the company.
    • The legal form of the company.
    • Tax code/VAT number, if assigned.
    • Location of the physical address.
    • Surname, name, place and date of birth, tax number, if assigned, and details of the document identifying the legal representative.
    •  E-mail address for communication between the provider and OAM.
    • Indication of the type of activity performed as a service provider (VASP or e-wallet).
    • Indication of the type of services listed in Annex 2.
    • Appointment of a local AML officer.
    • The means of carrying out the service, indicating the number and address of the physical points of activity, while including any ATMs (automated teller machines) and/or online transactions, indicating the web address through which the service is carried out.
  4. The application shall be accompanied by a copy of the document identifying the person, legal representative, as well as the company’s statutory documents.

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

In accordance with the Decree of 13 January 2022, art. 3 – VASP from another EU Member State may provide its services in Italy only after registration in the OAM register under the general conditions, specifics:

  1. VASP with a registered office in another EU Member State does not need to establish a separate legal entity, it is sufficient to have a branch (permanent establishment in the territory of the Republic).
  2. The application procedure is the same as for a local company described in the previous section.

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

In accordance with article 17 of Decree No. 141/2010 VASPs and e-wallet providers that fail to comply with registration requests or rejected applications by the OAM must cease operations.

Otherwise, they will be considered abusive and may face penalties from 2 500 EUR to 10,329 EUR and/or investigation if they continue to operate without registration.

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.