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17 Oct 2017

The Lithuanian financial supervisory authority has announced its official position on virtual currencies. The Bank of Lithuania has chosen a critical approach, stating that financial services must be clearly separated from activities related to virtual currencies. In the opinion of the Bank of Lithuania, financial market participants should not provide services associated with virtual currencies or participate in their release. The activities of financial institutions related to virtual currencies will not be monitored by the Bank of Lithuania. Therefore, financial institutions should not create a false image that their services related to virtual currencies are supervised and/or are subject to the same level of security as financial services.

Financial market participants providing financial services to customers offering virtual currencies or otherwise related to such currency must ensure strict compliance with the requirements of prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.  

Also, the Bank of Lithuania has expressed its opinion on the increasingly popular method of attracting capital – initial coin offering (ICO). The Bank of Lithuania believes that this activity should be regulated and in certain cases subject to investment-related legislative requirements and restrictions given the high risks involved. 

The position expressed by the Bank of Lithuania gives grounds to believe that the integration of virtual currencies into official means of payment in Lithuania will remain limited and ICO may soon become regulated.

The opinion of the Bank of Lithuania can be found here.

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