Lithuania’s Fintech Haven to Cull Crypto Firms Under New Licensing Rules

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 1 min read
Lithuania to Cull Crypto Firms Under New Licensing Rules

Lithuania intends to implement a rigorous licensing process for crypto companies currently operating within its jurisdiction. This initiative, scheduled to commence next year, is expected to result in the removal of many digital asset companies.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that about 580 cryptoasset firms are currently registered in Lithuania. However, Simonas Krepsta, a member of the central bank’s board, anticipates that a lower number will ultimately be successful in securing full operating licenses.

According to Krepsta, the licensing process is scheduled to wrap up by June 2025. Applications that do not meet the established criteria will be excluded from Lithuania’s crypto ecosystem.

Central Bank Board Member Acknowledges Weak Oversight Led to Crypto Industry Shortcomings

Lithuania’s success in attracting innovative financial institutions also drew in many unregulated cryptocurrency firms. This influx of crypto businesses makes Lithuania a potential focal point for new regulations from both Lithuania and Europe.

Krepsta said that the crypto industry had exhibited shortcomings under regulatory frameworks characterized by minimal oversight. “We have quite a lot of evidence of that in the US, other European countries but also Lithuania,” he told Bloomberg.

“We saw quite a number of failures, embezzlement cases and similar which were quite a blow for the industry.”

Lithuania Prepares Its Own Crypto Regulatory Arsenal

Lithuania has cultivated a reputation as a haven for crypto entrepreneurs. This stems in part from the country’s legal framework, which permits crypto transactions without restriction. Furthermore, establishing a business in Lithuania has historically been a relatively straightforward process, further enhancing its attractiveness to those in the crypto space.

The country tightened its belt on anti-money laundering (AML) regulations on Nov. 29, 2023. The government approved a draft AML law, along with eight others, aiming to crank up supervision and tighten the screws on money laundering and terrorist financing.

With an eye on getting ahead of the curve, Lithuania is looking to beef up its own crypto regulations before the European Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA) kicks in. This proactive approach aims to address potential risks brewing in the crypto space before MiCA takes the wheel.

The much-anticipated MiCA is expected to come into force by early 2025.