In order to run a crypto activity in Poland you do not need to obtain a cryptocurrency license in Poland, you only have to get an entry into the Register of Virtual Currencies (crypto license in Poland). We explain how to do this. Learn how to become a virtual asset service provider in Poland.
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
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.
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.
What are the requirements for obtaining crypto license in Poland?
In order to obtain a crypto license in Poland (inscription to cryptocurrency business register) there are two requirements:
1. Proper reputation (clear criminal record);
2. Knowledge and experience in the field of crypto business;
Both of which have to be proven by the documents.
Is crypto business legal in Poland?
Yes, however in order to run it you need to be registered with the Register of Virtual Currencies (Rejestr Działalności w Zakresie Walut Wirtualnych).
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. The only situation in which it might be possible is to register a branch of a foreign company in Poland. The other way is of course an incorporation of a crypto company in Poland.
How long does it take to obtain a cryptocurrency license in Poland?
Pursuant to 129r(3) of the AML Law, the competent authority has 14 days from the date of receipt of the application to register the entity in question in the register of activities in the field of virtual currencies.
Of course, the total time to obtain a license may vary depending on either you want to conduct cryptocurrency-related activities within an already existing company/business or there is a need to establish a new entity. However, the preparation of documents and completion of the application itself should not take more than 1 business day.
What is the cost of obtaining a crypto license in Poland?
Obtaining the crypto license in Poland itself is not expensive. The fee on the application for entry in the register of virtual currencies is PLN 616. In addition, if you want to obtain a certificate of entry in the registry it is necessary to pay a fee of PLN 17.
What types of crypto business can obtain a license in Poland?
The AML Act, in defining virtual currency activities, enumerates 4 types of services:
– exchanges between virtual currencies and means of payment (FIAT money),
– exchanges between virtual currencies,
– intermediation of exchanges referred to in a or b,
– maintenance of accounts in the form of an electronic set of identification data providing authorized persons with the ability to use units of virtual currencies including carrying out transactions of their exchange (wallets).
Are there any ongoing compliance requirements for crypto license holders in Poland?
An entity engaged in virtual currencies activities shall comply with certain country’s regulations regarding RODO and AML. Particularly important in the latter case is to identify and verify customers (KYC procedure), conduct money laundering risk assessment and analysis, monitor transactions and report suspicious transactions. It is, of course, necessary to maintain accounting and tax returns in accordance with the relevant accounting and tax regulations in force.
What is the process for obtaining a crypto license in Poland?
In Poland, the business of trading, exchanging, brokering virtual currencies or operating electronic cryptocurrency wallets is a regulated activity. This means that an entrepreneur has to submit an application to the register of activities in the field of virtual currencies in order to legally commence operating in the field of cryptocurrency – conduct the activity as a virtual asset service provider (VASP). Therefore, formally you do not need to obtain any license, but only to apply for registration. However, for simplicity, in the following part of the article we will use the term VASP license interchangeably. The register of activities in the field of virtual currencies is with the Director of the Tax Administration Chamber in Katowice, who acts under the authorization of the Minister of Public Finance. It contains such data as:
– individual number of entry in the register,
– date of entry,
– fundamental data of the entity (name/company, NIP and/or KRS no.),
– type of services provided,
– information on the suspension or termination of virtual currency activities
Can a crypto license be revoked?
Yes. Entity can be removed from the register of activities in the field of virtual currencies if:
– submits an application for deletion (the application is also submitted electronically);
– entity is removed from one of the register of enterprenuers (CEIDG or KRS);
– it will be determined that the entity does not meet the conditions required by law to operate in the field of virtual currencies;
– it will be determined that the entity has made a declaration of no criminal record and statement of expertise or experience in the field of virtual currencies, which is false.
Information on the deletion of the entity from the register has the character of an administrative decision.
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.
Does a Polish crypto company have to appoint AML Officer?
Yes, a crypto company in Poland must have a person responsible for AML.
Why you should get a crypto license in Poland?
There are a few reasons why establishing and registering a crypto company in Poland is a strategically beneficial move. Firstly, Poland is a large domestic market that gives businesses instant access to a very broad audience.
Can I do the set up remotely?
The company and Poland crypto license setup can be completed remotely, without travel.
Who regulates crypto companies in Poland?
The Polish KNF (Financial Supervision Authority) regulates the operation of Polish crypto companies.