Virtual Asset Service Providers ('VASPs')

Central Bank of Ireland
Regulation of Providers of Services relating to
Virtual Assets

Virtual Asset Service Providers ('VASPs')
Regulation of providers of services relating to
Virtual Assets

The European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive ('5AMLD') extended Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism ('AML/CFT') obligations to entities that provide certain services relating to virtual assets.

Ireland transposed 5AMLD into Irish law by way of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2021 (‘2021 Act’) and the provisions of the 2021 Act that relate to VASPs commenced on 23 April 2021.

The 2021 Act extends the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Acts 2010 to 2021 (‘CJA 2010 to 2021’) to VASPs.

For the purposes of the legislation, VASPs are firms that provide any of the following services relating to virtual assets:

1. exchange between virtual assets and fiat currencies;
2. exchange between one or more forms of virtual assets;
3. transfer of virtual assets, that is to say, to conduct a transaction on behalf of another person that moves a virtual asset from one virtual asset address or account to another;
4. custodian wallet provider; and
5. participation in, and provision of, financial services related to an issuer’s offer or sale of a virtual asset or both.

What does this mean for VASPs?

VASPs are “designated persons” for the purposes of the CJA 2010 to 2021 and are required to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) obligations contained under Part 4 of the CJA 2010 to 2021. VASPs will also be subject to the following requirements:

1. Registration with the Central Bank for AML/CFT purposes
All VASPs established in Ireland are required to register with the Central Bank for AML/CFT purposes only.
Firms not established in Ireland and/or not carrying on business as a VASP immediately prior to the 2021 Act coming into force must be registered with the Central Bank prior to the commencement of any services relating to virtual assets from Ireland.
VASPs established in Ireland and carrying on business as a VASP immediately prior to the 2021 Act coming into force, have 3 months to apply to the Central Bank for registration.
If a firm that is currently authorised by the Central Bank for prudential and/or conduct of business services is or plans to also carry on business as a VASP, this firm is obliged to register with the Central Bank as a VASP.

In order for the Central Bank to approve a VASP's an application for AML/CFT registration, the Central Bank must be satisfied that:
- the firm’s AML/CFT policies and procedures are effective in combatting the money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF)
risks associated with its business model; and
- the firm’s management and beneficial owners are fit and proper.

Please note that it is a criminal offence to carry on the business of a VASP in the absence of registration.

2. On-going AML/CFT Obligations
VASPs will be “designated persons” for the purposes of the CJA 2010 to 2021 and are required to comply with the AML/CFT obligations contained under Part 4 of the CJA 2010 to 2021 which include:

- carrying out an ML/TF risk assessment of their business;
- undertaking customer due diligence (CDD) of their customers;
- carrying out ongoing monitoring of customers and customer transactions;
- filing Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) with Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Ireland and the Revenue Commissioner in
instances where money laundering or terrorist financing is known or suspected;
- maintaining and implementing AML/CFT policies, procedures and controls;
- retaining appropriate records; and
- providing AML/CFT training to all staff on an ongoing basis.

The Central Bank’s approach to AML/CFT supervision

As the competent authority in Ireland for the AML/CFT supervision of VASPs, the Central Bank is responsible for monitoring firms’ continued compliance with their AML/CFT obligations.

The Central Bank’s AML/CFT supervisory approach to VASPs replicates our existing approach to the AML/CFT supervision of credit and financial institutions under the CJA 2010 to 2021.

The Central Bank implements a graduated approach to AML/CFT supervision. This means that higher intensity and intrusive supervisory measures (e.g. onsite inspections and review meetings) are used to monitor firms that present a higher risk of ML/TF. Other less intensive supervisory measures such as AML/CFT Risk Evaluation Questionnaires and outreach activities (e.g. presentations and seminars) are also used as part of the Central Bank's AML/CFT supervisory programme.

The frequency and intensity of the AML/CFT supervisory engagement model for an individual firm is dependent on its ML/TF risk rating.

The Central Bank’s approach to fitness and probity

The Central Bank’s Fitness and Probity Regime was introduced by the Central Bank under the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 ('the 2010 Act').

The Fitness and Probity Regime applies to persons in senior positions (referred to in the legislation as Controlled Functions (CFs) and Pre-Approval Controlled Functions (PCFs) within regulated financial service providers (RFSPs).

A person performing a CF must have a level of fitness and probity appropriate to the performance of that particular function.

PCFs are a subset of CFs and the prior approval of the Central Bank is required before an individual can be appointed to a PCF role.

A firm must not permit a person to perform a CF unless:
- the firm is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the person complies with the Central Bank’s fitness and probity standards; and
- the person has agreed to abide by the Central Bank’s fitness and probity standards.

A firm must not appoint an individual to perform a PCF role until the Central Bank has approved the appointment in writing.

In addition to the Central Bank’s Fitness and Probity Regime for CFs and PCFs, the CJA 2010 to 2021 also places an obligation on the beneficial owners of VASPs to be fit and proper.

How We Can Help You
Setting up your VASP entity in Ireland!

We assist in the full registration process with Central Bank of

If you are looking to obtain a Crypto Asset Services Provider (VASP) license in Ireland, Atrium Legal Lab can offer you its legal, technical and business expertise and consulting support.

Our dedicated Financial Services Regulatory Team works closely with clients who are subject to AML / CFT requirements across a number of sectors. We have also advised a number of clients engaged in providing crypto services in Ireland.
We have vast experience in dealing with AML / CFT issues across the spectrum from establishing an AML / CFT framework and preparing policies and procedures; providing annual training; advising on suspicious transaction report filings; advising on governance and outsourcing arrangements related to AML / CFT and guiding clients through themed inspections and supervisory / enforcement engagement on AML / CFT.

Further Information

Virtual Asset Service Provider Application for Registration Information
Click Here!

Licensing Services
Our Company Services
Services we DO and Services we DO NOT DO

Our company is EXCLUSIVELY engaged in assisting worldwide clients, either individuals or corporate entities, to get duly and properly registered and licensed with local Regulators and Financial Authorities to get respective official licenses to legally carry out their cryptocurrency business activities.

Atrium Legal Lab does not carry out any sort of cryptocurrency business trade or financial service!

Should you have an enquiry
You would like to discuss with us
You can either call or email us.

One of our Customer Representatives will be most pleased to help and assist you

Send us your message Now!
Legal disclaimer

The information and materials contained in this website do not constitute an offer, invitation, solicitation, advice or recommendation to buy the products and services offered and rendered by Atrium Legal Lab and shall be applied with prior consultation.

Atrium Legal Lab does not offer legal or tax advice without consultation with certified professionals with related appropriate skill and expertise.

The information contained in this website is for general guidance on matters of interest only and should not be considered as guidance for financial or tax decisions, or a substitute for specific professional consultation.

Atrium Legal Lab is not a bank, nor does it provide banking services. Atrium Legal Lab offers international company formation, corporate administration services, and bank/broker introductory services and account opening assistance.

This website is only used for promotional marketing purposes of Atrium Legal Lab and is not intended to portray that this is the site of a bank. All prospective clients should consult a properly qualified tax professional in their own country to determine their own tax implications prior to embarking on any strategy described in this website. Since laws in each country are different, constantly change and can be subject to different interpretations by courts of law, any information herein regarding tax minimization needs to be verified by such competent counsel. While we have made every effort to ensure that the information contained in this website is accurate and correct due to constant changes in laws, rules and regulations Atrium Legal Lab Ltd accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising directly or indirectly from action taken or not taken relying on the information contained in this website. In particular no warranty is given as to the completeness, accuracy, reliability of such information and as to whether it is at all times up to date.

Atrium Legal Lab accepts no liability for any loss or damage direct or indirectly arising from the application of any information contained in this website, including any loss, damage or expenses arising from, but not limited to, any defect, error, mistake, inaccuracy, reliability of this website, its contents or related services, or due to any unavailability of this Site or any part thereof of any contents or related services.

Notice About Restricted Customers / Citizens

Due to our internal policies to prevent fraudulent activities or violations of our internal AML policies we are regretting that we do not provide consultations, email support, on-boarding activities and customer care to all OECD black listed countries and their citizens / entities.