What has happened?
The Polish financial regulator has said that the trading of cryptocurrencies is de facto legal in the country.
What does this mean?
In an official, non-binding statement, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) said it wanted to clarify the status of cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency trading, "recognising the emerging legal doubts in respect of functioning of exchanges and exchange offices".
The KNF said that:
"In the Polish system, there are no regulations prohibiting the conduct of an activity as an exchange or an exchange office for cryptocurrencies, which means that conducting [in Poland] activities in the form of an exchange [in] cryptocurrencies, as well as trading in cryptocurrencies, is not prohibited and is therefore legal."
The statement notes, however, that from 13 July 2018 entities operating as an exchange or an exchange office for cryptocurrencies will have to abide by anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules.
In addition, cryptocurrency activities may be related to activities of entities on the financial market, meaning that certain KNF permits may need to be obtained, such as the authorisation to perform payment services in respect of cryptocurrency wallets and the execution of payment transactions.
"Consequently, [cryptocurrency] activity, just like any other manifestation of economic activity, must take place in full compliance with the applicable legal provisions."
The KNF also warned entities operating in the cryptocurrency space that if they provide regulated services not having a relevant permit, the KNF will have to "take appropriate supervisory actions".
Commenting on the statement, Hogan Lovells Partner Beata Balas-Noszczyk and Senior Associate Karol Ruszkowski said:
"Although the statement of the KNF on trading in cryptocurrencies is general and non-binding for market participants, it gives some light on the regulator's approach towards this new business area.
"The KNF statement should be also deemed as important contribution to the discussion on cryptocurrencies' legal status and admissibility in Poland. It may be expected that the regulator's confirmation of the legal admissibility of trading in cryptocurrencies in Poland may bring those vivid discussions to an end."
Last month, the KNF had announced plans to conduct a social media campaign in co-operation with an external service provider on the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies as well as participating in so-called pyramid schemes and forex structures unsupervised by the KNF.
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