DLT and cryptocurrencies
FinTechs belonging to this category offer financial services using crypto currencies. This category also includes FinTechs utilising blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) upon which Bitcoin and Ethereum are based, among others. FinTechs develop and do research in this field in order to create new services – e.g. crypto currency exchange markets, wallet providers, NFTs-related services, new payment services, "smart contracts" or new clearing and settling services.
Attitude of the country towards financial services using crypto currencies
The social and political climate towards financing services using crypto currencies is changing and the authorities are considering regulating this field. Prior to the transition to the second phase of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, investing in real estate and securities in foreign markets was prohibited. As such, in an announcement in 2017 the NBRM has announced that crypto currency trading is prohibited in the same way as trading securities and derivative financial instruments on foreign markets. With the Decision for Transition to the Second Phase of the Association between Republic of Macedonia and the European Community and its Member States, investing in foreign markets was allowed for natural and legal persons in North Macedonia. Now, NBRM is stating that it does not mean that crypto currencies are illegal if they are not regulated. The authorities recognise the interest by the citizens to invest in crypto currencies. The Minister of MoF has announced that a separate law for crypto currencies will be adopted in order to regulate this field. The new law for crypto currencies will introduce a regulatory framework regarding the usage of crypto assets as a new innovative financial product.
Obligations and requirements to provide financial services using crypto currencies described above
At the moment, providing financial services using crypto currencies is not explicitly regulated. The Law on Foreign Exchange provides a legal framework for the residents in North Macedonia that intend to invest in securities on foreign markets. Residents in North Macedonia can invest in foreign market securities only through a domestic authorised participant in the securities market or through an authorised participant on the foreign stock exchange or organised securities market. The announced (AML and CTF Draft-Law) Draft-Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism will introduce a legal framework and clarity regarding cryptocurrencies.
Additional comments regarding the legal situation for financial services using crypto currencies or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area
On 1 February 2022, the Government of North Macedonia adopted the AML and CTF Draft-Law with amendments regarding crypto currencies. The legal solution of the AML and CTF Draft-Law defines the terms "virtual assets" which fall under the definition of "property", "virtual asset service providers", "virtual wallets", "cryptocurrencies" and other related terms of the crypto sphere. The AML and CTF Draft-Law will also set obligations upon the providers of services related to virtual assets for prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism, control mechanisms in case of potential misuse of virtual or crypto funds, and trading of virtual assets in cash in the amount of up to EUR 500 in MKD equivalent will be allowed. The AML and CTF Draft-Law will also prohibit service providers from trading in fully anonymous virtual assets known as private virtual assets, as well as from using software tools to anonymise and interfere with virtual asset transactions. The intention behind the adoption of the AML and CTF Draft-Law is to minimise the potential vulnerability of the national system in dealing with the challenges that are brought by the virtual assets, as well as to protect the payment system and the economy as a whole. The Financial Intelligence Unit will act as a supervisory body for the virtual assets service providers in areas related to money laundering and prevention of terrorist financing. As such, all virtual asset service providers will have to notify the Financial Intelligence Unit of their activities within 30 days of adoption of the bylaws envisaged with the AML and CTF Draft-Law. Also, the virtual assets service providers will have nine (9) months from the day of adoption of the AML and CTF Draft-Law to undertake the necessary measures in order to fully comply with the provisions of the AML and CTF Draft-Law.
Market size for financial services using crypto currencies and biggest companies in this business area
No economic data is available.
Additional comments regarding the economic situation for financial services using crypto currencies or what FinTech’s must be aware of in this business area