As the use of cryptocurrencies has become more popular, financial authorities have started to express their opinion on their use and, in some cases, supervise or regulate them.
Presently, there is no mandatory crypto exchange license in Austria
in this form, however, registration requirements are in place, and they can be seen as an equivalent of a license, a mandatory condition for functioning.
As part of our company formation services, we provide solutions for those who wish to open a cryptocurrency company in Austria.
What types of services can blockchain and cryptocurrency companies provide in Austria?
Investors who want to open a cryptocurrency company in Austria can set up various types of businesses in the cryptocurrency sector in Austria, among which:
- cryptocurrency exchanges;
- companies offering support for cryptocurrency transactions;
- companies issuing cryptocurrency.
When opening this type of company, investors will need to be mindful not only of the laws described above, but also the common practices in the industry.
Launching an ICO, an initial coin offering, is an important step in the existence of a cryptocurrency company and it is used to gather needed funds to support the project (the development of a new token or crypto service).
Investors who wish to launch an ICO will need to prepare the white paper in a matter in which it will inform and attract potential investors and in a lawful manner, i.e., inform the investors of their business idea, intended purpose of the token and the scheduled sale of the token, among others.
How are cryptocurrencies treated in Austria?
Cryptocurrencies are legal in Austria, however, they are not perceived as legal tender.
According to the Ministry of Finance
, virtual assets are classified as “other intangible commodities”.
The Financial Market Authority (FMA) supervises, to a certain degree, a number of activities that can be conducted by using blockchain.
Crypto services providers need to observe certain requirements, one of them being that those who issue, sell and transfer virtual currencies, trading and exchange platforms and custodian wallets providers need to register with the FMA. While this is not a license per se, in some way it can be perceived as a crypto exchange license in Austria.
Examples of activities that are subject to supervision from the FMA include the following:
- - Payment services;
- - Banking activities;
- - E-money activities;
- - Investment services;
- - Insurance;
- - Exchanges.
All of the types of activities above are understood as those provided by using blockchain.
A relevant law for those who provide services based on blockchain or cryptocurrency is the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5), which defines cryptocurrencies as “financial instruments”.
Other relevant laws are those issues by the European Supervisory Authority, to which Austria adheres as a member of the EU.
Relevant EU authorities that can provide guidance on the legal treatment of types of services include the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) or the European Banking Authority (EBA).
Investors who want to open a cryptocurrency company in Austria can find out more about these relevant laws from our team.
How to set up a cryptocurrency business in Austria
From choosing the right type of structure and up to the registration of the company with the authorities, the incorporation procedure is the same as for any other type of company
While there is no special crypto exchange license in Austria, the aforementioned registration for certain crypto services providers (such as exchange platforms), can be seen as a licensing step.
Company formation in Austria is performed by following a few key steps:
- Choose the type of company: the limited liability company or GmbH is a suitable option for those who open a cryptocurrency company in Austria;
- Choose the business name and registered address: the name needs to be unique and the registered address needs to be based in Austria;
- Prepare the documents: the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, as well as the identification documents of the founders;
- Register the business: the company is registered with the Commercial Register and then it applies for a tax identification number.
The types of taxes companies in Austria are subject to include:
- · 25% corporate income tax;
- · 21.13% (in most cases) of the employee’s salary, the social security contribution payable by the employer;
- · 3% payroll tax on total salaries and wages that are paid on a monthly basis by companies that have a permanent establishment in the country.
In addition to these, digital currencies are subject to a 27.5% capital gains tax.
These companies will not be asked to register for VAT purposes
, however, this can change if the company is also involved in other types of activities.
We recommend getting in touch with one of our taxation experts in Austria to find out more about the general taxes for companies, as well as how income derived from cryptocurrency-related activities is treated.
Foreign investors who wish to open a cryptocurrency company in Austria
can rely on our local advisors for assistance with the company registration procedure in Austria. Do not hesitate to contact us