Lithuania Reins In Crypto Registrations After Boom Exposed Risks

(Bloomberg) -- Lithuania, which saw registration of crypto companies soar almost fivefold last year, is reining in the growth of digital-asset service providers to address transparency issues and money-laundering risks.

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The Registry Office in Vilnius released a list of 206 crypto companies Thursday that pass a set of stricter regulatory requirements imposed last November. Regulators winnowed down a list of 850 companies after imposing the new rules, according to the Finance Ministry.

Policy makers in the Baltic nation are rushing to address risks to the financial system posed by crypto operators and exchanges after an influx of registrations from Estonia. That country revoked the majority of its more than 1,000 crypto licenses last year as part of a crackdown.

Companies in Lithuania now need to meet fresh transparency and supervision requirements, according to rules laid out in new anti-money laundering and terrorist-financing legislation. The minimum threshold for startup capital was set at 125,000 euros ($137,450).

Lithuania is home to Bifinity UAB, a two-year-old payments provider for the world’s largest crypto platform Binance Holdings Ltd. Bifinity was the Baltic nation’s second-biggest contributer of corporate tax last year, according to data by the tax authority.

Regulators have heightened their scrutiny of cryptocurrency companies worldwide in response to a series of high profile scandals and bankruptcies last year. Those concerns culminated after the collapse of digital asset exchange FTX in November.

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