Lithuanian Ministry of Finance has released an official document, containing guidelines for ICOs as the country continues to be position itself as one of the most crypto-friendly hubs in Europe. The biggest of the Baltic States becomes one of the first countries within the EU to provide clarity on its official policy regarding the launch of ICOs, sales of tokens and numerous other aspects of initial coin offerings.
The most significant feature of an ICO in the new guidelines in whether a token “grants profits or governance rights” to the investors who obtained it during the ICO. Existing civil laws will apply to all projects that involve distribution of tokens, however there will be additional financial regulations for ICOs, which sell tokens that grant profits or governance rights.
The guidelines go into further detail and cover taxation, accounting, anti-money laundering and other aspects for the ICOs in the country. The document also addresses important issues, such as which tokens can be described as securities and thus be subject to laws on financial markets instruments and details which funds, raised through ICOs are to be taxed by corporate, personal income or value added taxes.
Minister of Finance Vilius Šapoka claimed in the official press release that, “Lithuania has found itself in the middle of explosion of ICOs and blockchain based projects and is in line with other countries – financial incumbents, when total values of all ICOs are being measured. This has happened due to our leadership in FinTech, advanced IT sector and infrastructure, open-minded public authorities, their encouraging signals and persistence in providing alternative access to finance to SMEs and startups.”
He also went on to add that, “We cannot ignore the development of new financial instruments and phenomenon of blockchain technology. We do believe that certain usage of it, such as ICOs, should be regulated. […] We acknowledge that the brave new crypto economy world is here to stay, this is why we encourage and invite its participants to innovate and create in Lithuania.”
The country with a population similar to that of Brooklyn, has been at the forefront of a global ICO market that still lacks a universal and well-defined regulation.
According to the data by the Lithuanian finance ministry, Lithuanian ICO projects have raised over $400 million in 2017 – a number which will surely be surpassed this year as they have managed to raise $250 million in the first quarter alone. Nonetheless, this number could be significantly higher as increasing number of Lithuanian ICOs register their entities in tax havens such as Gibraltar, Malta, Switzerland or Virgin Islands.
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I have been following the crypto markets since mid 2017, just in time to witness the incredible surge of the digital asset industry. Fascinated by the potential of blockchain technology I’ve started to dig deeper and that’s how I ended up meeting the Toshi Times team. I hold a Political Science degree, therefore the crypto regulation development is particularly interesting for me. I’m also heavily involved with music, running my own label, a YouTube channel and working with distribution. People call blockchain the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and I believe it will change our daily lives in the coming years and we will have the front row seats to witness it.