cryptocurrencies, legal provision in Albania

Cryptocurrencies are a new type of currency that was created in 2009. They originate in a digital format and are generated in electronic form. Transactions of these currencies are made without banks. There are no transaction fees and you can buy practically anything with them, just like you do with traditional money (fiat). Payments using cryptocurrencies are made according to the same principle as traditional wireless transfers, based on the principles of non-cash payments.

As cryptocurrency is now widely used, the need for legal regulation has arisen. Albania is one of the first countries to adopt a law regulating the cryptocurrency market. On May 20, 2020, Law no. 66/2020 “On financial markets based on distributed registry technology”, otherwise known as the “law on cryptocurrency”, has made Albania the 3rd country in Europe for the official legalization of cryptocurrency. At first glance, the law seems quite detailed, although it has received numerous criticisms, describing it as a hasty decision with the argument that Albania, in all its economic elements, is not yet ready and prepared for cryptocurrency.

  1. Main aspects of the law

Law no. 66/2020 aims to regulate the issuance of digital and / or virtual coins, licensing, monitoring and supervision of entities operating in the activity of distribution, trading and storage of these coins, digital currency agent, providers of innovative services and services of collective investment.

  • Categories and license rules

To exercise an activity involving cryptocurrency an entity must be licensed. The law provides for the following types of licenses:

Agent DT License – serves as a bridge between the licensee and the supervisory authorities for application and reporting procedures

DLT Scholarship License – offers the opportunity to operate a centralized or decentralized exchange for one of the following sub-categories:

Type A – for the trading of digital service lands and / or digital payment lands and / or digital asset lands.

Type B – A + FIAT category virtual money / currency trading

Type C – trade of categories B + safety signs

Innovative Service Provider License – provides innovative technology services and serves as a certifier in relation to the technological capabilities of other entities

Third Party Portfolio Custody License – a legal entity that provides key cryptographic custodial services on behalf of clients, as well as holding, depositing and transferring digital lands.

All the above licenses are issued without expiration of the term. This means that the licensee will not need to renew the license from time to time, but will only have to pay the annual fee in order for the license to remain active.

The license is issued within 60 days from the date of application.

The license may not be transferred to any third party, unless such transfer is approved by the competent institutions.

  1. Competent institutions

Competent institutions for issuing the above licenses are:

NAIS (National Agency of Information Society) which is competent for the evaluation of the technological capacities of the applicant during the licensing process.

AFSA (Financial Supervision Authority) which is competent for the evaluation of financial and regulatory aspects of the license application.

  1. Special requests for the applicant

For some of the licenses, interested parties may not apply directly, but must act through a licensed representative. Thus, the application for a stock exchange license or third party portfolio custodian license must be submitted through a DT licensed agent who will represent the applicant and perform all activities related to the licensing procedure.

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