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Who can act as a VASP ?

Virtual assets activities or operations covered by the VASP definition may be provided by any person. That person can be either a legal person, such as a company, or a natural person (an individual, that is, a trader in a broad sense) (FATF Virtual asset Guidance, §55 and 58).

VASPs must request a license or registration in the jurisdiction(s) where they are created. Whenever a VASP is a natural person, that person must request a license or registration in the jurisdiction where is located its business place (FATF Recommendation 15, end p. 107). Therefore, VASPs that are established or that provide services in Luxembourg must be registered within the register of virtual asset service providers established by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (the “CSSF”).

 

However, a State does not necessarily impose a separate licensing or registration from natural or legal persons that are already licensed or registered as financial institutions within that State and which, under such license or registration, are permitted to perform VASP activities (FATF Recommendation 15, end p. 107). In Luxembourg, however, any entity offering or intending to offer any VASP services, including any entity already licensed/registered by a competent authority, must register beforehand as a VASP (CSSF, VASP Registration procedure, p. 2).

 

National provisions on Virtual asset service providers (VASPs) are generally not the result of a transposition of EU rules but, rather, of Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (or FATF) - the international money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog (Bill of Law N° 7467, Article commentary, p. 31).

 

No EU text currently organizes the provision of Virtual assets activities or operations throughout the EU, including not the AMLD5. Consequently, there is no “European passport” for VASPs. VASPs offering products and/or services to customers in other jurisdictions, from their home jurisdiction or not, may need to be licensed or registered in other jurisdictions where reside these customers (FATF Recommendation 15, p. 107). In this regard, the CSSF also clarified that the registration required in Luxembourg for persons providing Virtual assets services, activities or operations listed in the VASP definition is “without prejudice to any other license/registration or other status required either in Luxembourg or by other European or third countries for any other activities performed by the applicant” (CSSF, VASP Registration procedure, p. 3).

Therefore, VASPs must comply with the requirements of the different jurisdictions where they intend to provide their services and seek a license or registration therein. As an example, the Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken (NVB) stated that “the duty to register with the DNB applies to virtual-fiat exchange providers and custodian wallet providers with a physical presence in the Netherlands, but also to those providers from other EU Member States or third countries in case they provide virtual asset services in the Netherlands. The registration duty applies to providers from EU Member States notwithstanding the presence of registrations in other Member States” (NVB, AML, CTF & Sanctions Guidance Part II, p. 6 and 7).

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