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With blockchain, a foundational technology with great potential has emerged over the last decade. The secure digital representation and transfer of assets and general rights is one of the most significant drivers of innovation in the digital economy and financial services. 

Liechtenstein has recognized the potential

Liechtenstein has recognized the potential of this technological development.
With the TVTG the world’s first comprehensive legal framework for the token economy was created.

Information on the Blockchain Act

The Law on Tokens and TT Service Providers (in short TVTG or the Blockchain-Act) provides a comprehensive and technology-neutral approach to regulating the entire token economy.

The aim of the TVTG is to protect users and to ensure confidence in digital legal transactions. It describes the rights and obligations of service providers who perform activities on TT systems. They are subject to registration and supervision by the FMA.

The TVTG creates a new civil law for tokens and the legal basis for the ownership, possession and disposition rights over tokens on VT systems. It does not only cover digital assets (such as Bitcoin), but creates the legal basis for the tokenization of analog assets.


Timeline Blockchain Act

Starting a New Business in the Fintech & Blockchain sector

Business models in the FinTech & Blockchain space may be subject to multiple licensing or registration requirements.

If any of the TT service provider roles regulated in the TVTG are performed, a company needs to be registered as a TT service provider.

If the activity also falls under the scope of the financial market laws, a company additionally requires a financial market license.

Active companies without a financial market license or TVTG registration require a business/trade license.

Starting a New Business

When setting up a company in Liechtenstein, you will find capable partners at the Office of Economic Affairs, the Office for Financial Market Innovation and the Financial Market Authority. This graphic shows you which partner best suits your needs.

Overview of the Capital Requirements, Obligations, and Costs

If you want to act as a token issuer, token producer, TT key depository, TT token depository, or physical validator, the chart below gives you an overview of the capital requirements, obligations, and costs.

FAQ’S

The most important questions and answers about Liechtenstein and Blockchain at a glance.

What is the scope of application of the TVTG

A distinction must be made between the scope concerning the regulatory and the civil law part.
Supervisory part: Concerning the registration and supervision of TT service providers. Only TT service providers domiciled in Liechtenstein fall under the supervision of the FMA. Not every activity directed towards Liechtenstein falls within the scope of supervision of the FMA according to the TVTG.
Civil law part: Concerning the civil law basis of tokens, such as the legal definition of the token, the ownership and the right of disposal as well as the legal effects of the disposal on the token (e.g. the transfer and disposal of tokenized assets). The civil law part is applicable to all tokens created or issued by a TT service provider domiciled or resident in Liechtenstein, or has expressly declared applicable by parties in a legal transaction. Thus, there is the possibility of a choice of law for tokens that otherwise have no basis in civil law. Whether a choice of law is individually possible (between the parties) depends on the constellation of the individual case and whether other mandatory legal provisions (e.g. Consumer Protection Act) permit such a choice of law.

REGISTRATION

All service providers carrying out activities on TT systems must check whether they are subject to registration with the FMA. For details on the registration requirements and the registration process, see the FMA’s published guidance on this subject. For the reporting and notification obligations, see the FMA’s guidance on this subject.
For all other documents, forms and legal bases see here.

Is it possible to FOUND a company with CRYPTO CURRENCY?

Incorporation with cryptocurrency is possible in Liechtenstein, but is associated with the risk of falling below the minimum capital requirements due to the significant exchange rate fluctuations. See the fact sheet of the Office of Justice (currently available only in German) on the liberation of company capital with a cryptocurrency.

When does EU PASSPORTING apply?

The “EU Passporting System” allows companies whose service is authorized in one EU or EEA member state to trade freely in other countries of the EU market with no or minimal additional authorization requirements.

In principle, passporting applies to areas harmonized under EEA law, such as certain financial services. In assessing whether the passporting provisions may apply to services in relation to a specific token, the key factor is how the token is structured in the individual case. If the application of EEA harmonized financial market law is not possible, the general rules of the EEA Agreement on the four fundamental freedoms and the prohibition of discrimination apply.

The EU passporting regime only applies in those areas where EU-wide regulation or harmonization exists.

Regulatory Laboratory: No “Sandbox”

The Regulatory Laboratory of the FMA has the function of supporting FinTech and Blockchain companies in the registration process, as it is not always obvious to companies whether and which financial market regulations their services are subject to. The TVTG conclusively governs the registration process and requirements for TT service providers. Therefore, there are no agreements with the regulatory laboratory on individual requirements in the sense of a “sandbox”.

What is the TOKEN-ECONOMY?

The token economy is the term for a digital economy in which blockchain technology, or the token, is used as the basis and infrastructure for the efficient transfer of rights and assets. Blockchain technology enables direct interaction between individuals with these tokens without the need for an intermediary or middleman.

What does TOKENISATION mean?

Everything – from physical objects to rights and other assets – can be “tokenized”. Tokenization is the term used to describe the digitization of these rights or assets. However, it is obvious that one cannot “digitize” a car, but only a right in relation to a car. The TVTG creates the legal basis for tokenization for the effective and legally secure synchronization of the physical world with the digital world.

What is a TOKEN?

The TVTG introduces a new legal object in the form of the “token” to the legal system. A token is legally defined as a digital representation of information on a TT system. The token can represent claims or membership rights vis-à-vis a person, rights to property or other rights. However, it can also be “empty”, meaning that no rights are represented by the token. Pure virtual currencies without any reference to real assets are an example of this.

What is the TOKEN CONTAINER MODEL?

Instead of regulating the different types and classifications of tokens (such as payment tokens, utility tokens, stablecoins, security tokens) separately, the government has taken a different approach. The token is to be understood as a “container” (a structure) that can be filled with all kinds of rights or assets. It is not the tokenization as such that determines the legal classification, but the right or instrument represented in the token (the contents of the container). Thus, if a financial instrument is represented in a token, the corresponding financial market laws are generally applicable. If, on the other hand, an IP right is represented in a token, the regulations on intellectual property apply.
The token container model thus allows the use of tokens outside of financial market regulation. It is thus highly innovative and flexible and can be used for all current as well as future blockchain applications. This represents a basic prerequisite for the development and practical implementation of the token economy.

GLOSSARY

What is theTTVTG? What are VT protectors and how does the token economy work? You can find answers to these and other questions in the glossary. Is your question not answered? Then do not hesitate to contact us.

ICO (Initial Coin Offering)

Initial Coin Offering (also called Token Generating Events, Token Launch or Token Offering) refers to the initial issuance of tokens (in analogy to the IPO, the regulated initial public offering). It represents a type of crowd-funding based on cryptocurrencies to finance projects or start-ups in an early phase (seed stage). Coins or tokens are usually sold in exchange for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ether. Depending on the project and its design, the tokens can represent shares in a company or rights to use a product.

INNOVATIONSCLUBS

A format through which companies or individuals have the opportunity to help shape and propose an improvement in the legal and regulatory framework. For more information, see Innovation Clubs Contact SFI.

PHYSICAL VALIDATOR

Tokens can represent rights (e.g., ownership or usage rights) to physical things. For example, if a painting is tokenized and the sale is made by transferring the token, the physical validator ensures that the buyer of the token can subsequently access the painting in accordance with the contract. The physical validator thus ensures the enforcement of the rights specified in the contract.

TOKEN

With the so-called token, the TVTG introduces a new legal object to enable the mapping of the “real” world on TT systems in a legally secure manner. A token is thus the digital representation of a piece of information on a TT system that can represent claims or membership rights vis-à-vis a person, rights to things or other rights and is assigned to one or more TT identifiers.

TOKEN-ISSUER

Persons who publicly offer tokens in ther own name or on behalf of third parties. One possible application are platforms that conduct Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) for their customers.

TOKEN-GENERATOR

Persons who originally create tokens by programming. The decisive factor is that they perform the activity professionally and generate the token as a service on a TT system.

TOKEN-ECONOMY

Digitalization requires us to be able to digitally map and transfer not only information but also values. The token economy is a term for a digital economy in which blockchain technology, or rather the token, is used as the basis for the efficient transfer of rights and assets. Blockchain technology enables direct interaction between individuals with these tokens without the need for an intermediary or middleman. Sending digital assets over the Internet has therefore become as cheap and easy as sending an e-mail.

TVTG

Tokens and TT Service Providers (Token and TT Service Provider Act; TVTG). The terminology “transaction systems based on trusted technologies” encompasses a as far as possible technology-neutral view of blockchain systems, in order to apply to future generations of technology as well. (See also TT System).

TT-IDENTIFIER

An identifier is the public key or address that enables the unique assignment of tokens.

TT-IDENTITY SERVICE PROVIDER

Persons who professionally identify the person authorized to dispose of a token and record it in a registry. This service is essential for the integration of machines (Internet of Things), for example. This enables users who carry out transactions with machines to check in advance to whom this machine is attributable. However, it can also be used to document ownership via tokens, e.g. in the event of inheritance or if the TT key is stolen or lost.

VT-PROTECTOR

Service providers who hold tokens on a TT system (e.g. blockchain) in their own name for the account of others or carry out transactions for customers. In contrast to the custodian role, they act as owners vis-à-vis the contractual partners. They require mandatory authorization under the Trustee Act.

TT-VERIFYING AUTHORITIES

Service providers who verify the legal capacity and the requirements when disposing of a token. This includes, for example, services that ensure that only persons of legal age or those who have a specific authorization can acquire certain tokens.

TT-KEY DEPOSITARIES

Service providers who safeguard and hold the private keys in custody for their customers. The custodians can also carry out transactions on behalf of the customers.

TT-SYSTEM

“Transaction systems based on trusted technologies”. The term “trusted technology” (“TT”) means that the trust is created by the technology and not only by organizations, respectively intermediaries (e.g. large financial companies, banks, credit card companies, stock exchanges, governments, social media companies, etc.). Trustworthy” is understood to mean that the integrity of tokens, their unambiguous allocation and their secure exchange should be guaranteed.

VT-TOKEN DEPOSITARIES

Service providers who safeguard and hold the tokens in custody for their customers. The custodians can also carry out transactions on behalf of the customers.

VT-EXCHANGE SERVICE PROVIDER

Service providers that exchange money (legal tender) for tokens and vice versa as well as tokens for tokens. This includes, for example, physical exchange machines at which cryptocurrencies can be exchanged, but also platforms that offer the exchange exclusively online.