Lithuanian Government Approves Stricter Crypto Regulations – Vilnius’ government has approved changes that will impose stricter rules on the country’s growing cryptocurrency space. The legislation aims to mitigate the risks connected with crypto assets while also prohibiting Russian attempts to evade Western sanctions imposed as a result of the Ukraine conflict.
Lithuania is revising its Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Law, with the declared purpose of assuring greater transparency and long-term growth for its cryptocurrency sector. The government of the small Baltic nation adopted amendments that it wants to implement before the upcoming EU regulations.
The Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Lithuania, the Ministry of Interior, the Financial Crime Investigation Service, and the Lithuanian Money Laundering Prevention Competence Center prepared the new provisions. Their major goal is to tighten up regulations on crypto service providers.
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According to her department, Finance Minister Gintar Skaist stated that the rapid growth of the crypto market as well as the emergence of new products necessitates increased attention from responsible authorities in managing risks, particularly those related to money laundering and terrorist financing threats. She went on to say:
In light of this, we are taking proactive steps to improve regulation at the national level in anticipation of future EU decisions.
The draft law, which is likely to be tabled to the Lithuanian parliament during the current session and implemented this year, is expected to include more specific customer identification regulations as well as a prohibition on the creation of anonymous accounts. It would also raise the amount of permitted capital required of service providers to €125,000 from €100,000.
Only Lithuanians who have lived in the country for at least a year will be allowed to run cryptocurrency businesses. Lithuanian regulators also want to make sure that these entities does not do services or operate in other countries. From February 1, 2023, the full list of registered operators of crypto exchange and custody platforms will be made public.
In response to recent events in the region, particularly the continuing military war in Ukraine, Lithuania is updating its legislation. “Today’s geopolitical context strengthens the relevance of the suggestions — we must ensure that no attempt is made to avoid Western sanctions on Russia by using crypto assets,” Minister Skaist stated.
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Since Estonia tightened its crypto restrictions, Lithuania has seen a surge in the number of crypto businesses establishing operations. Only eight such entities were formed in the entire year of 2020, while 188 such businesses were registered in 2021, followed by another 40 in the first months of this year. Lithuania presently has over 250 crypto service providers, according to the finance ministry.