The central bank of Lithuania, is in talks with commercial banks and cryptocurrency traders, according to The Baltic Times. The announcement came after a round-table meeting was held recently, where Finance Ministry and the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT) officials were also present. The fintech strategy coordinator of the central bank, Jekaterina Govina, broke the news at the Lawyers’ Day 2018 held at Vilnius University this week. She said that they had invited ICO teams and banking officials as well.
“It’s necessary that banks speak to those who have carried out an ICO or those who convert cryptocurrencies into conventional money. A dialog has been established and it remains to be seen where it will lead us,” said Govina. Last year, Lithuania’s central bank submitted a document that separated financial services activities from virtual currency activities. Marius Jurgilas, board member of the bank, said that ICOs would be “subject to investment related legislative requirements and restrictions”. But, in order to become the “northern European fintech hub”, Lithuania will now offer cheap and fast licenses for ICOs.
Unfortunately, commercial banks are still reluctant to accept cryptocurrencies. Vytautas Kaseta, blockchain advisor, said, “Commercial banks don’t understand the nature of the crypto-business and the business model. Therefore, they regard it as a high-risk business and require additional proofs of the origin of money and investment, and often refuse to open accounts for companies.”
Lithuanian Banks’ Association (LBA) believes that banks needs details and history of the virtual money held by crypto customers. According to the president of LBA, Mantas Zalatorius, this factor is non-negotiable. “A dialog is necessary. We are interested in speaking to everyone to better understand each other’s business models, but consumer protection, money laundering and terrorist financing prevention is a priority that must be ensured. We understand from the meeting that some of cryptocurrency market participants cannot say where the money comes from. This is a serious problem, and they didn’t realize it was a problem,” said Zalatorius.
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