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Are cryptocurrency platforms lawful in Poland?

The definition of virtual currency covering i.a. cryptocurrencies has been introduced into Polish legal system in the AML/CFT Act of March 1st 2018, which entered into force on July 13th 2018. Since 2019 the same definition is used in income tax regulations.

Under art. 2.1.12 AML/CFT Act entities carrying out business activity consisting in the provision of services in the scope of: (i) exchange between virtual currencies and means of payment, (ii) exchange between virtual currencies, (iii) intermediation in the exchange referred to in letter (i) or (ii) as well as (iv) maintaining accounts constituting a collection, maintained in electronic form, of identifying data enabling the entitled persons to use virtual currency units, including the conduct of transactions of their exchange shall be considered as obliged entities within the meaning of Polish AML/CFT legislation, with all implications (KYC, SAR filings etc.).

According to the KNF public announcement of June 6th 2018 referring to the activity of cryptocurrency platforms in Poland:

  1. as in Polish legal system there are no regulations prohibiting the operations of cryptocurrency platforms, it should be implied that the activity of cryptocurrency platforms as well as trading with cryptocurrencies shall not be prohibited. As a consequence, the activity of cryptocurrency platforms is lawful, however:
  2. operations of cryptocurrency platforms shall be compliant with AML/CFT Act,
  3. cryptocurrency platforms shall pay close attention to the KYC / CDD / financial security measures obligations, especially shall at all times establish the source of funds. If fulfilling such obligations occurs impossible (art. 41.1 AML/CFT Act), the cryptocurrency platform shall: (i) not establish any business relationships, (ii) not conduct an occasional transaction, (iii) not conduct a transaction through a bank account, (iv) terminate business relationships,
  4. operations of cryptocurrency platforms may require obtaining a license of a payment services provider (PSD2), especially in the scope of: (i) maintaining payment accounts (virtual wallets) and (ii) exercising payment transactions, as specified in the Payment Services Act,
  5. KNF introduced a sand-box like program named “the Innovation Hub” which can be used by cryptocurrency platforms to identify the applicable provisions of law as well as structure the operations in such a fashion for them to be lawful.

We invite you to contact our Law Firm, which offers services in the field of:

  • structuring entities from the FinTech / cryptocurrency industry,
  • drafting the AML/CFT documentation and implementing the AML / CFT legislation within the obliged entities,
  • obtaining PSD2 / payment services provider licenses for both regular (big) payment institution and small payment institution,
  • representation in front of KNF.
Author team leader DKP Legal Piotr Putyra
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