In the series on 5 small blockchain nations, Liechtenstein is rightly ranked first as a place to locate a crypto/blockchain company or do an ICO. While large European countries are still trying to come up with clear regulations on the subject, smaller nations such as Malta and Liechtenstein have already sorted it out. But because the ‘Blockchain island’ in the Mediterranean Sea is on everybody’s A-list, today we will cover the small principality hidden in the mountains between Austria and Switzerland.
Quiet rebel in the EU-region
In September 2017, when the bitcoin price hit the maximum, the Financial Market Authority (FMA) of Liechtenstein issued its first document on ICOs. ‘’In all cases, it is recommended that ICOs be clarified with the FMA in advance, given that violations of financial market regulations entail penalties’’. For the organisation to review the case, you had to provide the whitepaper and a concrete business plan covering the company and its strategy. But, in general, FMA stated that activities relating to financial instruments were subject to licensing.
Just to clarify why the country’s regulation towards the new technology was so loyal, it is important to know that for “years Liechtenstein was viewed and used as a place for wealthy individuals to hide money and evade taxes from their native lands.” When Liechtenstein’s GDP per capita rose to $139,000 in 2009, Germany and the UK began to mount pressure on the country. The regulated economy of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, in general, can be seen as a sweet escape for many of those who don’t want to play by the Pan-European rules.
Blockchain Law in action
Now is a perfect moment for Liechtenstein to capitalize on the fact that the technology is still fresh. While most of the countries in Europe are still trying to figure out Satoshi’s innovation, the small principality could become one of the first countries in the world to regulate cryptos and thus create the basis for extensive economic applications.
With such a basis, Pan-European institutions would hardly be able to mount pressure on Liechtenstein again, due to the lack of expertise.
In March 2018, the principality’s Prime Minister Adrian Hasler announced a new law to strengthen and reinforce the crypto ecosystem, “The Blockchain Law.”
This law would have many benefits. It would help blockchain companies to integrate with the traditional economy, i.e., overcome KYC/AML hurdles and provide legal predictability. Besides that, it would provide a legal basis for security tokens, safe storage of digital assets, several levels of licensing for business providers in ICOs and even more.
Off the back of the news about ‘’Blockchain Law’’, we have recently learnt that Neon Exchange based in Liechtenstein announced the first regulated exchange security token in Europe and one of the first and few regulated securities in the world. And this is how the island of the blockchain ecosystem in Liechtenstein slowly grows bigger.
Support on the governmental level is not an easy thing to find in the blockchain niche. Still, in Liechtenstein, there exist several entities such as Crypto Country Association and the government-approved Liechtenstein Venture Cooperative that can guarantee the businesses of a new era some degree of protection.
So, while one of the wealthiest countries in Europe is using everybody’s misconception on blockchain to recover its financial independence, why don’t you try and use the benefits it gives you?