FinTech Q&A

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If I want to engage in virtual currency business activity, do I have to obtain authorisation of FCMC?

First of all, it should be clarified what the questioner has meant with the term “virtual currency service “. A virtual currency is a contractual means of payment which does not itself entail a type of business activity. Commercial activity model covers the provision of services to a customer, such as carrying out activities related to a virtual currency or mediation. It is also possible to offer individual regulated financial services using virtual currency. Because of the lack of consistency, it is often difficult for the FCMC experts to answer this question at first, as it is necessary to clarify the nature of the activities and service within the planned business model.

What is a virtual currency service provider?

In accordance with Section 1(23) of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing a virtual currency service provider is the person providing virtual currency services, including the provider of services of exchange of the virtual currency issued by other persons, which provides the users with the possibility to exchange the virtual currency for another virtual currency by receiving commission for it, or offer to purchase and redeem the virtual currency trough a recognised legal means of payment.

The Law entrusts their registration and supervision in the field of money laundering and combating terrorism stipulates to the State Revenue Service.

Do I need the FCMC’s authorisation if I want to install a Bitcoin machine in Latvia that would provide exchange of Bitcoin virtual currency into real money and vice versa?

No, the installation of such currency exchange machine does not require the FCMC’s authorisation. However, we draw attention to the fact that other type of permits may be required for the installation of such machines, purchase, sale or exchange of virtual currency (taxes, invoicing). In this context, the FCMC recommends approaching the State Revenue Service.

If a person has decided to start investment transactions in virtual assets or public raising of financial resources through virtual assets, or the planned activity requires any of authorisation under existing legal framework?

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