The Netherlands is known as a financial hub and one that promotes innovation. Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are preferred locations for those who wish to open a cryptocurrency company in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) has yet to provide a comprehensive framework for trading in Bitcoin and other currencies as well as the initial coin offerings. However, Dutch lawmakers, among which the AFM, the Central Bank, and the Consumer Authority have expressed the need to develop a clear policy for this type of activity.
Our team of Dutch lawyers can give answer your questions regarding the control and regulations that influence companies that are involved in cryptocurrency businesses.
We invite you to watch a video on how to open a cryptocurrency company in the Netherlands:
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The Dutch law on cryptocurrencies
The Netherlands may be seen as a “crypto hub” in Europe. Trading on a cryptocurrency exchange and, more often, trading in Bitcoin is possible here although this type of trading is not yet formally regulated by the financial authorities in the country.
As far as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other types of cryptocurrencies are concerned, they are not perceived to be identical to money, as they are defined in the Dutch Civil Code. However, a recommendation set forward by the Dutch lawmakers is that these types of currencies should be seen as a means of exchange. Because they are decentralized, they are not perceived as virtual money.
Our attorneys in the Netherlands can give you more information about the current conditions and regulations applicable to this business field.
The crypto license in Netherlands
The equivalent of the license for companies involved in cryptocurrency trading can be seen as the requirement to register with the Dutch Central National Bank De Nederlandsche N.V. (DNB).
The requirement is based on the Anti-Money Laundering Directive and it is possible for the DNB to refuse the registration of an applicant if it does not meet the criteria.
Our team answers some of the most important questions about the crypto license in Netherlands below.
Please keep in mind that the answers to these questions only offer general information, as per the DNB legal provisions. For more information or personalized assistance for registration, you can reach out to our team.
What are the conditions for registration?
Crypto service providers are required to make an application for registration via the Digital Supervision Portal. The application file consists of both the request for registration, as well as the application for assessment.
The DNB has the right to ask the applicant for more documents, information, or clarification as needed.
As part of the assessment, the individual(s) who are part of the company are assessed on the basis of the fit and proper test. The following aspects are relevant:
- Knowledge: for the fitness assessment, the authorities will determine if the individual has sufficient relevant knowledge and skills; this is a position-specific assessment;
- Target individuals: the assessment takes place for each newly proposed individual who will serve as a board member, co-policy maker, or supervisory board member;
- Antecedents: the DNB determines whether or not the individual proposed for the position has had antecedents that prevented him/her from performing his/her duties.
- Others: the rule of suitability is also taken into account for the assessment; our team can give you more details.
In some situations, the reassessment of the individuals involved in the cryptocurrency company may be required.
The success of the registration process depends on the applicant submitting a fully completed registration request, as well as the degree to which he complies with the registration requirements. It is essential to provide sufficient information and strong evidence to support the request for registration.
When the applicant satisfies the requirements, he will benefit from a shorter evaluation procedure. Seeking advice from a legal expert will often mean that the application will be a properly filed one, thus increasing the chances of obtaining a favorable result.
What are the costs?
A one-time fee applies for the fit and proper assessment:
- EUR 5,000 for applications for registration under Section 23b of the law;
- EUR 2,000 for applications for fit and proper evaluations (fitness) under Section 23h;
- EUR 1,100 for applications for propriety evaluations under Sections 23h.
Please keep in mind that these fees can be subject to change. Our team can give you more information about the one-off charges, as well as the regular supervision fees.
How long does it take to register?
According to law, the authorities have 2 months to approve or reject the application for the equivalent of the crypto license in Netherlands (the registration with the DNB).
It is essential to note that, during this time, the applicant is not allowed to offer the proposed cryptocurrency services.
Also, it should be noted that the fit and proper assessment takes place according to a different timeline, as it also includes an interview. If the documents submitted by the applicant are satisfactory, then there may not be the need to schedule an interview for the purpose of registration.
Opening a Dutch company
Investors who start a cryptocurrency business in the Netherlands will commonly choose to open a limited company. Also called the Dutch BV, this business form has advantages in terms of investor liability and a simple setup process.
In almost all cases, the formation of a new Dutch company will last three days. Foreign investors who need special assistance in the Netherlands can talk to one of our Dutch lawyers.
Investors who open a company can also choose to perform a trademark registration in Netherlands, as needed for their business.
Our team can assist investors who wish to open a cryptocurrency company in the Netherlands and wish to know more about the conditions that apply to crypto service providers.
Compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act is essential, and company owners need to keep in mind not only the need to obtain a cypto license in Netherlands, in the form of a proper registration with the DNB, but also the requirement for transaction monitoring and suspicious activities related to cryptocurrency transactions.
Contact our law firm in the Netherlands for more information about setting up a business and the various laws that govern particular business fields.