Enabling you to operate a crypto business in Ireland by registering with the Central Bank of Ireland.
Cryptocurrency Licence, Ireland
Virtual Asset Service Provider
Introduction to obtaining the cryptocurrency licence in Ireland
If you wish to provide cryptocurrency services in Ireland, you must register with the Irish financial services regulator for cryptocurrency, namely, the Central Bank of Ireland, and register as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP), under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 to 2021 (the “CJA 2010 to 2021”).
In order for the Central Bank of Ireland to consider and accept an application for registration from a VASP, the Applicant Firm must fully complete the VASP AML/CFT Registration Form and submit all required registration documentation. In doing so, you must satisfy the Central Bank of Ireland that they are fully compliant with all relevant regulatory requirements under the CJA 2010 to 2021
AML Law in Ireland for Cryptocurrency businesses?
CJA 2010 to 2021 governs the law in Ireland on anti-money laundering and the countering of the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and for cryptocurrency businesses. The Central Bank is the regulator in Ireland for the monitoring and supervision of VASPs’ compliance with their AML/CFT obligations under Part 4 of the CJA 2010 to 2021.
When must you register your cryptocurrency business in Ireland?
You will be required to register with the Central Bank of Ireland for your cryptocurrency business if you are providing any of the following services:
i. Exchange between virtual assets and fiat currencies;
ii. Exchange between one or more forms of virtual assets;
iii. Transfer of virtual assets, that is to say, conduct a transaction on behalf of another person that moves a virtual asset from one virtual asset address or account to another;
iv. Custodian wallet provider;
v. Participation in, and provision of, financial services related to an issuer’s offer or sale of a virtual asset or both.
Areas of assessment for the cryptocurrency application in Ireland
The following areas will be assessed by the Central Bank during the assessment of your registration application
your firm’s details, including the firms, proposed VASP activities, business model, structure and regulatory history.
your firm’s shareholdings and senior management, including direct and indirect shareholders, partnerships, and management.
the Fitness and Probity of the beneficial owners/controllers of the firm, the firm’s principal officers, and the persons holding certain other management functions of the firm.
your firm's AML/CFT governance, including the firm’s risk assessment, policies and procedures, AML/CFT manual, AML/CFT training and report management information.
your firm's ML/TF risk profile, including the firm’s customer exposure, financial sanctions and PEPs screening, geography/country, distribution channels, and agents and branches.
your firm's risk-based approach, including the firm’s assurance testing, third-party reliance, and outsourcing activities.
Key stages of the AML registration process
Submission of the Application Form to the Central Bank of Ireland.
The Central Bank will issue you an email containing application information
Submission of all supporting documentation through the ONR system.
The Central Bank will acknowledge receipt of your application.
The Central Bank will assess whether your application contains all the required information and documentation to progress to the assessment phase. They will notify you by email.
Where all the required information and documentation have been provided, the Central Bank will conduct an assessment of the registration application. Where necessary, the Central Bank will request further information and/or clarification from you.
You will be provided with the opportunity to respond to the Central Bank’s request for further information and/or clarification.
The Central Bank will assess the additional information provided by you and notify you of its assessment and next steps.
The Central Bank will notify you of its decision to either grant or refuse the registration.
How we can help
Buckingham Capital Consulting can advise you on the most appropriate and suitable licence, based on your business model and plans. We can prepare, manage and obtain your licence in the country of your choice and help you understand your regulatory and legal obligations.
Our service involves the following:
- Guiding you through the application preparation stage
- Managing the entire application from planning to obtaining the licence
- Preparing, completing and submitting the application form
- Submitting the individual directorship forms
- Submitting your application to the financial regulator
- Assisting you with any correspondence/further questions from the financial regulator after submitting your application until your licence has been granted.
Choosing the right consulting partner
1. Expertise and Specialism in Banking, Payments and E-money
Banking, e-money and payment services are specialist fields, requiring prior expertise, knowledge and a specialist focus. You should ensure that your consultant specialises in this area as opposed to generalising in it. They should be comfortable explaining the technical aspects of this field, such as providing technical and regulatory requirements for licence authorisation. The financial regulator will have conditions and expectations regarding different aspects of the application. For example, shareholders and management should be fit & proper, of good repute and have relevant experience and knowledge. A good consultant should be able to advise you on the regulatory requirements early on in order to manage your time effectively and minimise any delays or wrong decisions. It should be your consultant’s role to guide and advise you on best practices and regulatory requirements. For example, we spend time advising clients from an early stage, in fact during the initial meeting and prior to taking on their application, of such requirements so that they are able to make an informed decision before investing their time.
2. Ability to access banking products and services
Setting up an e-money, payment or banking fintech goes beyond the scope of obtaining a licence. You will require specialist banking facilities, such as client safeguarding accounts, and access to payment systems, such as SEPA and Swift. Furthermore, you will require systems and software to manage your business. It is therefore important that your consulting partner has a strong network of connections with banks, technology partners and regulators. For example, by working closely with partners, such as Visa, Mastercard, Wirecard, and central banks, we are able to help clients by arranging banking facilities, such as safeguarding accounts, issuing cards, and access to payment infrastructures, such as SWIFT and SEPA.
Communication between a consultant and their client is extremely important. They should be open to meeting with you if required or to discuss your project during an initial meeting and thereafter have regular conversations with their clients. For example, we have at least a weekly telephone or conference call with our clients to discuss the progress of their licence authorisation application or related project. This helps the client to understand the progress of their application and be able to report key information and developments to their management team or board. At the same time, it enables us to understand how the client is coming along in developing the operational aspect of their business.
4. International approach
Banking, electronic money and payment services are international in their very nature. As our clients grow internationally their needs change. Firms, therefore, require licences, banking facilities, infrastructure and partners in international markets. We often find firms working with multiple legal, accounting and related firms. This can be challenging for such firms and often slows down their international growth. Furthermore, firms then must work with multiple partners within each country to manage different requirements e.g. company formation, accounting, legal, systems & IT, banks, and software vendors. This is further problematic when entering new markets. To manage these problems, our services are offered on an international level with offices strategically located in key jurisdictions across Europe and Asia. Our clients enjoy one point of contact for all their national and international requirements. This helps to remove any language barriers which they would otherwise face. Our services include accounting, legal, administration and banking, which means that our clients can centralise their requirements with us.
5. Prior authorisation applications experience and success rate
Firms should ensure that their consulting partner has good knowledge and experience in banking, e-money and payment services. They should be able to demonstrate strong knowledge and experience within this area and be comfortable with explaining the legal and regulatory framework concerning banking, payment services, and electronic money. Your consulting partner should be able to share a client reference or provide client testimonials for similar past successful projects. For example, our website provides details of our recent work as well as the names of some of our clients.
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What our clients say
"Buckingham Capital Consulting has been a reliable and trusted partner. They spent time understanding our business, people and processes and worked closely with us throughout the process. They completed our licencing application to a high standard and in a timely and efficient manner. We were delighted with how smooth the entire process was from the application preparation and submission but also with the case officer at the FCA. Buckingham Capital Consulting ensured that our licence was obtained in an efficient and smooth manner. The value and expertise they provide became obvious early on in the process. We highly recommend Buckingham Capital Consulting."