The Central Bank of Lithuania started to discuss regulatory issues with the cryptocurrency companies and commercial banks. «The failure to understand the world of cryptocurrencies is getting us nowhere,» said the coordinator of the Finance direction of the Central Bank during a meeting in Vilnius. In addition, in the event it became known that last year Lithuanian projects attracted 10% of all investment in ICO, and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are becoming increasingly popular in Lithuania.
Despite the risks, «blind denial and unwillingness to understand and work with the world of cryptocurrency is getting us nowhere,» said this week the representative of the Bank of Lithuania. Central Bank of the country began negotiations with representatives of cryptococcoma and commercial banks to discuss regulatory issues. This step was taken after consultation with the other financial authorities, including the Ministry of Finance and the Service of investigation of financial crimes (FCIS).
«We sat at the same table — banks, ICO, the company FCIS and other stakeholders,» said Catherine Gowin (Ekaterina Govina), coordinator of the Finance direction of the Central Bank. «It is important that banks have discussed this issue with companies that stand behind primary placements of tokens and the firms who are engaged in exchanging cryptocurrencies. We have established a dialogue. Let’s see where it takes us,» said Gowin at the conference at Vilnius University.
Until now, the Bank of Lithuania adopted a conservative approach to the ICO. He also insisted that traditional financial services should be clearly separated from activities related to «virtual currencies». However, the Central Bank did not abandon its aspirations to transform Lithuania into a centre for FINTECH innovation of Northern Europe. He plans to achieve this goal by accelerating the issuance of an inexpensive license for cryptocurrency businesses and the acceptance of applications in foreign languages such as English.
«Companies and startups working with cryptocurrencies, face a number of problems in obtaining banking services», — says Vytautas Kaseta (Vitautas Kasheta), the head of the Lithuanian Association of cryptoeconomy. «Commercial banks do not understand the nature of cryptocurrency. That’s why they think that it is a risky business and require additional safeguards. They often refuse to open accounts with cryptocurrency companies,» he explained.
«The dialogue is necessary. We are interested in how to lead it with all parties to better understand the business models of each other,» said Zalatoris mantas (Mantas Zalatorius), President of the Association of Lithuanian banks. «At the same time protecting the rights of consumers, prevention of money laundering and measures to combat terrorism are the main priorities. Commercial banks will provide services only to companies that can prove the origin of their capital, and not all of them are capable of it».
Step, the Central Bank can be considered justified, as a small Baltic country, the growing popularity of cryptocurrency. According to the monitoring Agency Mediaskopas, Lithuanian media have published more than 1,400 articles related to cryptocurrencies in the first three months of 2018, compared with 22 publications in the same period last year.
«Lithuania stands out on the world map. ICO-projects,» says Namestite Egle (Egle Nyameikshtite), the head of the Blockchain Center in Vilnius. According to statistics, last year Lithuanian projects attracted 10% of all investment in ICO. «Only the Americans and the Chinese are ahead of us,» she says.
Cryptocurrency also penetrate into the daily life of the Lithuanians as a means of payment. Local stores brand United Colors of Benetton recently announced to accept payments in the cryptocurrency bitcoin, ether, Dash, NEM and Steem in cooperation with the payment service provider Coppay.