Baltic state Lithuania has been undergoing a cryptocurrency boom due to the government’s liberal stance on regulation, reports UK paper, The Daily Express.
Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of northern-eastern Europe with a population of 2.8 million people as of 2017. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius.
The country has recently become a growing center for ICOs and crypto projects. Latest figures show that Lithuania is now attracting an impressive 10% of all global ICO investments, with cryptocurrency bringing in half a billion euros from such activities.
Its most recent coup is German automobile giant Volkswagen’s offer of a role in its Dresden center to Lithuanian company carVertical who has just developed a used car history platform.
Many European countries have been slow to clarify transparent security laws regarding trading of cryptocurrencies, however, Lithuania’s finance ministry released its own guidelines for ICOs this month, putting it at the forefront of crypto legislation in Europe. The country’s vice-minister of economy Marius Skuodis has added to this positive impetus by publishing a recent statement of support for blockchain technology.
Lithuania’s central bank has also been canvassing commercial banks and exchanges to get a clear picture of cryptocurrency and the role it may have in the future of the country’s financial sector, which is seen as encouraging for entrepreneurship in the space.
One issue that legislators are taking a hard look at in terms of regulating the space to protect users and financial institutions is the large inflow of capital currently flowing in from Russia, much of it thought to be “murky” according to Marius Jurgilas – a board member of the Bank of Lithuania, suggesting that Russian money is “infiltrating the local economy”.
“I don’t want to see 70 percent of your investors in your ICO coming from Russia… [An influx of non-transparent capital from Russia is] not in line with our national interests,” said Jurgilas.
Lithuanian regulators have expressed concerns that Russian money raised through organized crime could be laundered through projects related to cryptocurrencies such as ICOs. Lithuanian MEP Antennas Guoga suggests that reckless “crypto bros” don’t prevail in the country as those succeeding in the industry are “hard-working entrepreneurs looking to make an honest product”.
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