Lithuania Proves to Be Mobile Payments’ Friend With New Regulation

December 6, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

The word “Lithuania” and the phrase “friend of mobile payments” don’t likely connect in a lot of users’ heads, but thanks to a recent report sent our way from Fininbox, that may be about to change on at least some fronts. The Bank of Lithuania recently became the first regulatory group in Europe to offer guidelines on Security Token Offerings (STOs), a move which will provide a valuable framework to anyone in the region which is offering a tokenized financial product.

The guidance in question specifically targets the circumstances in which tokens are to be considered similar to securities or similar financial tools. It also offers more generalized recommendations on how to launch a security token issue, including some advice on the broader regulatory picture.

With such guidelines in place, organizations can take advantage of an environment where cryptocurrency is growing, but still largely unclear and with plenty of gray areas. Not to mention plenty of stink eye coming from regulators.  These guidelines will not only help organizations, but also lend new credibility to the Bank of Lithuania, who issued the guidelines.

Of course, Lithuanian fintech firms have more benefits than just these to go on; already, Lithuania offers the cheapest SEPA-based payments clearance system in the Eurozone thanks to the CENTROlink system, and the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius offers its own incentives and help to fintechs, making Lithuania a major draw for such operations.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and the host of altcoins available, have long labored under the scrutiny of governments and the general distrust of a public that believes they’re the province of criminals. With guidance like this, however, it should go a long way toward allowing new issues to take on a patina of legitimacy and respectability, if only in Lithuania. Granted, the force of the Bank of Lithuania may not have much impact outside of, well, Lithuania, but it’s still a major force in the region.

Either way, mobile payments stand to benefit more than a little from cryptocurrency, and cryptocurrency in turn will benefit from moves like this. The benefit is clear all around, and hopefully, we’ll break more than a little stigma thanks to a little help from the banks.