Bitcoin and other virtual currencies have been making headlines for more than 10 years now. Once ridiculed as a “crackpot idea”, at least the technology behind it, the so-called blockchain, has in the meantime shown its potential. This technology is now used directly in many areas of the digital economy. The virtual (cryptographic) means of payment as such, and the idea of a decentralized currency not dependent on a central bank, not only continue in existence, but are enjoying great popularity. The best example of this trend, now as before, is the virtual currency Bitcoin, which, despite high fluctuations in recent months and years, tends to enjoy continued, frequent use.
We have accompanied the trend towards digital currencies practically from its birth and have given lectures and published articles on this topic since 2013, some of which have even drawn attention from the Scientific Services of the German government while others have been cited by German courts. It is therefore fair to say that we are one of the leading authorities on virtual currencies and their legal implications.
The focus here is on the regulatory aspects of dealing with Bitcoin & Co. and on the question of whether, and in what form, a license from the German Financial Services Regulatory Authority (BaFin) is required for various business models and how such a permit can be obtained.
We advise German and international founders and service providers whose business models are based on Bitcoin or other blockchain models, as well as banks and other financial services institutions that regard cryptographic currencies as new business opportunities. In particular, we also advise start-ups and established players who want to find out what regulatory and compliance requirements these new opportunities entail.