In the evolving landscape of virtual currencies, Poland stands out as a hub for crypto activity, attracting entrepreneurs and investors alike. The key to legally operating in this space is not through a traditional crypto license but through registration in the Register of Virtual Currencies.
Our authoritative guide details the process of obtaining this vital registration, often referred to as a crypto license in Poland, which aligns with the EU’s stringent anti-money laundering directives.
Navigate the prerequisites with confidence as we break down the steps for both local and international entities to achieve compliance, ensuring your venture in Poland’s burgeoning crypto market operates with legitimacy and security.
Crypto license in Poland – key facts
|Amendments to the AML Act||– Enacted on May 15, 2021.|
– Implements EU Directive 2018/843.
– Focuses on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing in the cryptocurrency market.
|Register of Virtual Currencies||– Established on October 31, 2021.|
– Mandatory registration for virtual currency business activities.
– Maintained by the Chamber of Tax Administration in Katowice.
– Aims to increase market transparency.
|Entities Subject to Registration||– Not all entrepreneurs in virtual assets are covered.|
– Mainly those involved in cryptocurrency exchanges, intermediation, and account management.
– Defined under point 12 of Article 2 of the AML Act.
|Operating Requirements||– Must have a proper reputation and relevant experience.|
– Compliance with Article 129 of the AML Act.
– Requirements include no criminal record and specific training or experience in virtual currencies.
|Application Process for Registration||– Must apply electronically via ePUAP.|
– Required to submit professional qualifications and non-criminal record declarations.
– Fees include 616 PLN for entry and 17 PLN for certificate issuance.
|Foreign Entity Participation||– Direct registration for foreign entities not possible.|
– Options include registering a branch or incorporating a company in Poland.
|Step-by-Step Guide||– Incorporate a Polish company or branch.|
– Submit an application for registration.
– Opening bank account
|Consequences of Non-Registration||– Fines up to 100,000 PLN.|
– Potential additional sanctions under the AML Act for non-compliance.
Crypto license in Poland – background of the local market
Cryptocurrency businesses have been present in Poland for over a decade, with the first Bitcoin exchange established in 2011. However, it wasn’t until recent years that the Polish legislation began to take notice of the growing industry.
According to a recent report, Poland has one of the highest rates of cryptocurrency adoption in Europe, with over 2 million people in the country owning some form of cryptocurrency.
Furthermore, the number of companies accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment has also been increasing. Popularity of cryptocurrencies is on the rise.
Crypto license in Poland. Amendments to the AML Act
The amendment to the AML Act entered into force on the 15th of May 2021.
It aimed at implementing into the Polish legal system the solutions included in the Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018, amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, and amending Directives 2009/138/EC and 2013/36/EU.
The introduced changes mainly concern the cryptocurrency market of Poland.
To get a Poland crypto license, first of all, it is necessary to register (or buy) a Polish company, which will have the corresponding business activity identifiers. The Polish company and crypto license setup can be completed remotely, without travel.
Crypto license in Poland – the Register of Virtual Currencies in Poland
Since 31st October 2021, business activity in the field of virtual currencies is a regulated activity as defined in regulations of the Act of 6th March 2018 Entrepreneurs’ Law.
This means that it can take place only after obtaining an entry in the virtual currency business register. In other words – your company does not need license for the activity in the field of virtual currencies.
The Director of the Chamber of Tax Administration in Katowice maintains the register.
Its establishment aims to contribute to the increase of the transparency of the cryptocurrency market of Poland.
The creation of the virtual currency business register does not stem from the initiative of the Polish legislature.
It results from the necessity to implement the recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force („FATF”) in the field of cryptocurrency.
FATF states that the activities of the entities providing services in the field of virtual assets should be subject to license or, at least, registration.
Hence, the Polish legislature has adopted a less formalized type of regulation.
Crypto license in Poland – which entities have to obtain an entry into the Register of Virtual Currencies in Poland?
New regulations do not apply to every entrepreneur whose business activity operates within the field of virtual assets. They mainly relate to entities specified in point 12 of Article 2 of the AML Act.
The regulations identify entrepreneurs who conduct business activities in the field of virtual currencies that are related to:
- exchange between virtual currencies and means of payment,
- exchange between virtual currencies,
- intermediation in the aforementioned exchange,
- operating and maintaining virtual currency accounts.
This means that under the AML Act, ‘activity in the scope of virtual currencies’ is a more narrow concept than in a common understanding.
Is crypto license in Poland necessary to run business activity in the field of cryptocurrencies?
Currently, business activity in the field of cryptocurrencies in Poland may be conducted exclusively by entities who have a rightful reputation as well as knowledge or experience specified in regulations.
The aim of this solution is to provide a sufficient level of protection against using this kind of activity for criminal purposes.
- Proper reputationThe proper reputation of the entity may take place in cases when the entrepreneur has not commited crimes indicated in 129 Article of the AML Act. This provision includes, intentional crimes against the activity of state institutions and local government, against the administration of justice, and against the credibility of documents or money trading. This concerns natural persons, management board members of corporations. It also conserns shareholders in partnerships who are authorised to represent or conduct business operations. The requirement of no criminal record also applies to those who hold managerial positions connected with business activity in the scope of cryptocurrencies. As well as actual beneficiaries of the entities conducting such activity.
- Knowledge or experienceWhen can it be concluded that an entrepreneur has the relevant knowledge or experience? After fulfilling at least one of the premises specified in 129 Article of the AML Act. These include:
– completing training or course that covers legal or practical issues related to virtual currency activities or
– performing for a period of at least one year activities related to virtual currencies.
Fulfilment of the abovementioned conditions has to be proved with appropriate supporting documents.
Crypto license in Poland – when is it applicable?
Economic entities that are about to start conducting virtual assets activities are required to obtain the registration before the actual beginning.
Those entrepreneurs who conducted such activities before 31st October 2021 had to make the relevant entry no later than 30th April 2022.
Crypto license in Poland. How to apply for entry into Register of Virtual Currencies?
The application for entry into Cryptocurrency Business Register should be submitted to the Director of the Chamber of Tax Administration in Katowice. This can be done exclusively in electronic form via the ePUAP government services platform.
The authority should proceed with entry into the register within 14 days from the moment of submitting the complete application together with all the required statements.
In addition, submitting the application is associated with the necessity to pay fees. These include the amount of 616 PLN for entry into the Cryptocurrency Business Register. As well as 17 PLN for issuing a certificate of the entry into Cryptocurrency Business Register.
Can a foreign entity get an entry into Polish Register of Virtual Currencies?
No, a foreign entity is not able to get an entry into Polish Register of Virtual Currencies and run and therefore run a crypto activity in Poland.
Crypto license in Poland step-by-step
Crypto license in Poland. Incorporate a Polish company or a branch in Poland
The process of obtaining crypto license in Poland is quite simple. First, of course, you need to incorporate a company in Poland (register it with the national court register).
This can also be a sole proprietorship or a branch of a foreign company in Poland. After establishing a business, it is worth opening a bank account.
Here you should be particularly careful, as banks in Poland are reluctant to cooperate with startups involved in the crypto currency industry, therefore bank account opening can be a challenge.
Hence the help of an experienced law firm may be necessary to navigate through the process.
Crypto license in Poland. Submit an application to the Register of Virtual Currencies
Then, you will have to submit an application for registration in the register of activities in the field of virtual currencies. You shall submit the application electronically via the ePUAP platform ( therefore, it will be necessary to create a trusted profile). The application itself involves completing a short form.
You should attach the following to the application:
- statement that you comply with the professional qualifications requirement (knowledge or experience involving virtual assets)
- declaration of non-criminal record;
Along with the application, you should pay a stamp duty of PLN 616. Additionally, if you wish t
Crypto license in Poland – the consequences of not being registered into the virtual currency register
Entrepreneurs and companies who will fail to comply with the registration obligation will pay a penalty.
In accordance with Article 153b of the AML Act, an economic entity operating within the scope of virtual currencies without obtaining the required entry into the register is subject to a fine of up to 100 000 PLN.
However, one should remember that this is not the only possible penalty that threatens the entities that conduct business activity in the field of virtual currencies.
All such economic entities constitute, in fact, obliged institutions in accordance with the AML Act.
It means that the Act imposes on them not only numerous obligations but also sanctions for non-compliance.
Polish crypto license. Summary
The virtual currencies market is constantly growing. It’s not surprising as it creates many opportunities. On the other hand, it simultaneously carries some risks to financial security.
Therefore, legislators of many countries, including Poland, pay more and more attention to it.
The aim of creating a register of cryptocurrencies in Poland and identifying business activities in this field as regulated is to reduce the risk of money laundering and financing of terrorism.
In order to avoid negative consequences, entrepreneurs should adapt to current regulations and closely monitor changes.
Do you consider registration of a company in Poland operating in the field of cryptocurrencies? Do you already conduct such business and want to make sure that you fulfil all the obligations required by law? Feel free to contact our specialists, who have many years of experience in counselling in the virtual assets market.
FAQ on crypto license in Poland
What is a crypto license in Poland?
In Poland, the term ‘crypto license’ refers to the mandatory registration in the Register of Virtual Currencies for businesses operating with virtual assets, as per the AML Act.
Do I need a crypto license to operate a cryptocurrency business in Poland?
Yes, while you don’t need a ‘license’ per se, you are required to register your business in the Register of Virtual Currencies to operate legally within Poland.
How do I obtain a crypto license in Poland?
To obtain what is commonly called a crypto license in Poland, you must register your business with the Register of Virtual Currencies, maintained by the Director of the Chamber of Tax Administration in Katowice.
What businesses are required to register in the Register of Virtual Currencies?
Entities involved in the exchange between virtual currencies and means of payment, exchange between virtual currencies, intermediation in exchange, and operating virtual currency accounts must register.
Can foreign entities obtain a crypto license in Poland?
Foreign entities cannot directly obtain a registration but can operate through a registered branch or by incorporating a company in Poland.
What are the requirements for registration in the Register of Virtual Currencies?
Applicants must demonstrate proper reputation, knowledge, or experience in virtual currencies, which is proven by fulfilling specific conditions laid out in Article 129 of the AML Act.
Is there a fee for registering in the Register of Virtual Currencies?
Yes, there is a fee of 616 PLN for registration and an additional 17 PLN for issuing a certificate of registration.
What happens if I operate a crypto business in Poland without registering?
Operating without registration can lead to a fine of up to 100,000 PLN, among other potential legal penalties.
How long does it take to register in the Register of Virtual Currencies?
The authority is expected to process the entry within 14 days from submitting a complete application.
What are the consequences of non-compliance with the crypto registration requirements in Poland?
Non-compliance can result in substantial fines and sanctions, as businesses dealing with virtual currencies are obliged institutions under the AML Act.
How can I ensure that my crypto business is compliant with Polish regulations?
Consulting with legal experts who specialize in virtual assets and staying informed about regulatory changes are effective ways to ensure compliance.
Who regulates crypto companies in Poland?
The Polish KNF (Financial Supervision Authority) regulates the operation of Polish crypto companies.
Do I have to deposit the share capital to a bank account?
There’s no need to deposit the share capital to a bank account. You can register the share capital as contributed in cash.