Liechtenstein offers an optimal landscape to set-up a Fintech or Blockchain related business. It is in close proximity to the financial hub Zurich and the Crypto Valley Zug with access to a vast talent pool. Due to its membership in the EEA and the Swiss customs union it has access to the EU/EEA and Swiss market for selling financial services and products.
In 2020, Liechtensteinen enacted a new law covering the registration procedure and supervision of Fintechs with a blockchain background. The law creates legal certainty for Fintechs and protection for their clients through supervision, capital requirements, AML procedures and staff qualification requirements.
Read about more advantages of setting up a Fintech in Liechtenstein (PDF): Fintech & Blockchain
In Liechtenstein a license and registration with the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is required for financial businesses. This includes classic financial businesses such as banks, asset managers, e-money institutes, pension schemes and insurance companies as well as other commonly regulated businesses such as trust companies, auditors and casinos. A few years ago the FMA opened a „regulatory lab“ to discuss new business models that do not fit in any of the currently regulated area. In 2020, as described above, new regulation for Fintechs with a Blockchain or cryptocurrency background was introduced. The new „Blockchain Act“ (or TVTG) introduced new categories of licenses which are briefly described below:
- Token Issuer: offering of tokens for third parties (e.g. during ICOs or IEOs) or own tokens in the value of more than 5 million Swiss Francs p.a.
- Token Generator: programming of tokens
- TT Key Depositary / TT Token Depositary: saveguarding tokens or private keys for third parties (such as by crypto exchanges and wallet providers)
- TT Protector: holding tokens in its own name for third parties on a fiduciary basis (license only in combination with a license as trust company)
- Physical Validator: ensuring the enforcement of rights and ownership represented in a token (e.g. when art or other items are tokenized)
- TT Exchange Service Provider: exchanging tokens against fiat or vice versa and/or token against token
- TT Verifying Authorities: verifying that certain requirements are met before giving access to a certain token (e.g. the legal age of a person)
- TT Price Service Provider: publication of independently calculated price information
- TT Identity Service Provider: identifying and recording of persons who have rights relating to a token
(Whereas TT stands for „trustworthy technology“ as a neutral term for blockchain related technologies)
We can help you in assessing whether a license application in Liechtenstein might be an option and also assist you in the process of obtaining this license. Please consider that there might be more than one license necessary, e.g. when a crypot exchange holds tokens as well as fiat money of clients next to providing exchange services. In such a case, a TT Exchange Service Provider license a TT Token Despositary license and potentially a E-Money license will be required.