There are two stages to Albania’s crypto regulations: an official phase and an unofficial phase. Long before the Albanian government developed a crypto regulatory framework, Crypto activities were allowed in the country without restrictions. However, the recent development from the Albanian government in regulating crypto and other DLTs shows the country’s interest in cryptocurrency.
Albania is one of the early European countries to introduce a crypto regulatory framework. The Albanian government signed the bill “On Financial Markets Based on the Technology of Distributed Ledgers” into Law NO. 66/2020. The bill was presented to the economy committee in October 2019 before final approval on the 21st of May 2020. Sixteen (16) members were against the bill, three (3) abstained from it, and eighty-eight (88) supported the bill.
The Albanian law “On financial markets based on distributed ledger technology” became effective on the 1st of September, 2020. However, the country didn’t fully implement the law due to the absence of crypto bylaws. In 2021, the Albania parliament approved two more crypto-related regulations around crypto licensing.
Furthermore, in June 2021, the Albanian parliament drafted a plan which prompted the FSA (Financial Supervisory Authority) to approve a regulatory document on crypto and other DLTs in 2022. The draft aims to help the country and its citizens maximize the benefits of crypto technology, protect consumers from crypto frauds, and impose sanctions & fines on culprits in cases of abuse.
The requirement to operate a crypto company in Albania
Startups and businesses in the cryptocurrency industry that cater to Albanians’ crypto needs must satisfy certain requirements and obtain licenses from the relevant authorities in the nation.
Although, there are no particular prerequisites for individuals to engage in crypto activities in the country. Individual cryptocurrency accounts will be subject to 15% tax starting from 2023.
Procedures for acquiring a crypto license in Albania
There are criteria and license entities/companies seeking to provide crypto or other DLT services and products to Albanians need to acquire. Such an entity needs to obtain the relevant license from the Bank of Albania while meeting other criteria.
For instance, a crypto company must first submit detailed documentation, which includes a business plan, reputation and source of capital. Upon submission, the body in charge transfers the file to the appropriate commission (like AMF and AKSHI) for evaluation and review per Albania’s crypto law.
The committee’s decision to disapprove or approve the proposal is on criteria like; investors and the general public protection, promotion of a stable and transparent financial market, active security system in place, compliance with laws and regulations, and cyber attack protection.
The committee will further evaluate the company’s board of directors, supervisory board, administrator, and other important stakeholders in the company. They will also consider the company’s available capital, which can be an insurance policy or funds for professional liability.
Albania allows crypto and other DLT companies to work in the country legally. However, none of the current companies operating in Albania has a crypto license.