Like it or not, blockchain technology is showing significant signs of improvement, with some of the biggest companies in the world exploring its potential. Apart from the big guys, many small entrepreneurs want to seize the opportunity and register a blockchain business as soon as possible.
You don’t have to do in-depth research to understand why you should start a blockchain business in 2020. The evidence that this technology has the potential to change the world is pretty much everywhere!
First of all, let’s see why the upcoming period will be great for registering a blockchain company.
Why Is 2020 a Perfect Time to Launch a Blockchain Company?
Blockchain technology, as well the entire industry built around it, is maturing. The big moment marked by Bitcoin’s December 2017 peak was followed by a huge decline in cryptocurrency prices, which affected all projects and companies related to blockchain.
However, the industry is now recovering and it seems that people have more experience and know what to expect from blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
This article on Entrepreneur has summed it up pretty neatly. The main idea is that blockchain is gaining more acceptance from everyday users. However far from massive adoption, it’s still on a good path and improving with every company or start-up — especially with the ones looking to solve real-world problems using blockchain.
More and more blockchain projects are focusing on real-world solutions, which is making the entire industry more stable. The road to mass adoption may not be an easy one, but the goal is achievable and the industry is moving in the right direction.
Technology-wise, things are going well, but the real reason why 2020 seems to have an advantage compared to previous years is due to improved legislation focused on blockchain.
Some countries made more progress than others when it comes to creating a legal framework for blockchain. That’s where the term “blockchain-friendly countries” comes from.
Where to Open a Blockchain Company?
Choosing where to register a blockchain business comes down to a couple of countries we’re going to cover in this article. Lawmakers of the countries listed below understand the potential of blockchain technology, which is why they were quick to provide a legislative background for the technology.
The number of countries where you can start a blockchain business is not small. Yet, it seems that some jurisdictions are working better than others for now, as they have provided a better basis for such projects to turn into success.
Countries we’re going to cover are Malta, Estonia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Germany, the UK, the UAE, Liechtenstein, and Bermuda.
NB: This list is not final. We’re going to update the article with more countries in the future, as soon as they create a suitable legal framework that will allow blockchain businesses to thrive.
Malta is a small Mediterranean island south of Sicily. For some time now, its forward-thinking legislators have been making it a haven for a lot of industries, including the blockchain industry.
Blockchain Legislation in Malta
Malta is probably the best place in the world for opening a blockchain business. Many people from the industry refer to it as Blockchain Island as it was the first country to regulate blockchain.
Apart from regulating it, the country’s lawmakers also published numerous papers related to blockchain and started numerous initiatives related to this technology.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Malta
Malta’s bureaucracy is fast — you don’t even have to be there to officially open a company. The entire process can be completed in less than 48 hours and conducted online.
Make sure to get all the necessary paperwork and file them to the Malta Trade Registry. You should take several things into account before you commence the registration process, including answering the following questions:
- How large will your business be?
- What activities will it undertake?
- Will you need any additional licenses (some crypto-related companies might require that)?
- What is the amount of money you want to invest in your business (the minimum is 1,200 EUR)?
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Malta
A piece of legislation called the Malta Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services (ITAS) plays the most important role in the licensing process. It defines which digital structures are recognized as an “innovative technology arrangement.” ITAS also clearly defines the requirements needed to get certified as an Innovating Technology Service Provider.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Malta
The corporate tax in Malta is 35%, but there are various ways to get a tax refund that is usually calculated after the dividend distribution to shareholders takes place. You might want to investigate certain tax incentives using Malta High Qualified Persons Guidelines.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Malta?
Many blockchain specialists agree that Malta is one of the best places to start a blockchain company. Putting it on the list of potential countries for your business is a good idea.
Make sure to explore other options in this article, as some might offer better conditions for your business.
Estonia is a respectable EU country that pays a lot of attention to nurturing technological innovations. It was one of the first countries to offer people around the globe to become their eCitizens. It was only natural for the Baltic country to adapt its legislation and become more blockchain-friendly.
Blockchain Legislation in Estonia
Estonian lawmakers are actively working on upgrading the legal framework related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. This GLI article called Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Regulation 2020 explores Estonia’s take on these two spheres. Every possible aspect, including sales, taxation, promotion, licensing, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and more, is covered by Estonian laws.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Estonia
Starting a blockchain business in Estonia is not different from starting any other company in the country. You need to pay attention to the paperwork and understand that the Estonian Financial Unit may ask some questions. For example, the FIU may want to know more about your company or ask for additional documents.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Estonia
Obtaining a license for a blockchain business in Estonia is not a complicated process. With the help of the country’s eResidency program and superb digital infrastructure, anyone can open a company in the country and run an official business inside the EU.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Estonia
Calculating the exact tax amount is a bit difficult in this Baltic country as there are several types of taxes you need to pay, including VAT, corporate income tax, personal income tax, social security tax, and unemployment tax. However, not all of these tax types have to apply to your company — the FIU decides which ones you’ll have to pay.
Entrepreneurs in tech are usually not charged tax for retained profits, while distributed profit is subject to a 20% tax. Yet, the entire system is a bit more complex than that. One thing you should bear in mind is that Estonia has a very reasonable take on taxes.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Estonia?
Estonia is one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world. Its entire digital infrastructure is supported by X-Road which’s rooted in blockchain. Therefore, Estonia is definitely one of the top choices when it comes to countries where you can register a blockchain business.
Switzerland is considered the technological and financial hub of Europe (if not the entire world). Just like Estonia, it is a country that encourages the development of various technologies, including blockchain.
Blockchain Legislation in Switzerland
Switzerland’s lawmakers have a lot of experience in providing the optimal landscape in which blockchain and cryptocurrency companies could thrive. Authorities such as SBA and FINMA are very open to communication and even encourage various tech businesses to constantly communicate with them in order to improve their businesses.
Since Switzerland is divided into cantons, its laws might differ in each of these administrative divisions. However, the canton called Zug has paid special attention to digital currencies and blockchain, especially with the establishment of the Crypto Valley Association.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Switzerland
Opening a blockchain company in Switzerland is similar to registering any other kind of business in this country. There’s a clear procedure established by the Swiss Company Act you need to follow.
The Commercial Register is present in every canton, but the rules might differ a bit. Naturally, you should choose the “Crypto Valley” of Zug as your chosen canton and gather all the necessary paperwork to open a company. Although the registration process is not that complicated, it’s always a good idea to find local companies offering guidance with this sort of stuff.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Switzerland
According to the Swiss Company Act, all businesses that want to engage in activities such as collective investment, banking, insurance or fund management, must obtain a license. These licenses are required in order to keep Switzerland’s financial industry closely monitored and help it preserve its state-of-the-art level.
Acquiring a license means communicating with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) closely during the process of opening a blockchain business.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Switzerland
Switzerland has clear rules regarding the taxation of cryptocurrency operations. Several taxation types can be implemented, including wealth tax and income tax.
However, people who want to establish a cryptocurrency or blockchain business will more likely have to deal with capital tax that’s established by the Federal Tax Administration. VAT is not charged in Switzerland.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Switzerland?
Yes, absolutely. Switzerland is one of the best options for all people who want to make progress in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
A great and affordable tax system, support from various organizations, and clearly established regulations are just some of the things that make this country great for blockchain businesses.
Hong Kong has always been open to new technologies, and blockchain is no exception. Ever since the introduction of cryptocurrencies, numerous private and public enterprises were established in this region, seizing the opportunities blockchain provides.
Blockchain Legislation in Hong Kong
There is no primary legislation pertaining to cryptocurrency and blockchain regulations. However, the officials consider cryptocurrencies a virtual commodity rather than a legal tender.
As stated on the GLI page about regulations in Hong Kong, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) also issued numerous statements regarding monitoring cryptos in the area.
One of the statements called “Statement on Regulatory Framework for Virtual Asset Portfolios Managers, Fund Distributors, and Trading Platform Operators” was among the primary ones issued by the SFC. Several others followed.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Hong Kong
Despite the slight confusion in legislation, Hong Kong was still very interesting to blockchain companies, as the country was quick to seize multiple business opportunities.
That’s why the entire process of opening a blockchain company in Hong Kong is simple and quick. Investors are not even required to make a mandatory minimum deposit in the process.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Hong Kong
Since cryptocurrencies are virtual commodities in Hong Kong, cryptocurrency companies are not required to obtain a license to operate there, which makes the area very inviting for blockchain businesses.
However, every business has to be presented to the SFC, and some might actually have to obtain a license, especially businesses such as digital currency exchanges, to comply with AML and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Hong Kong
Compared to the majority of countries in the world, Hong Kong has a very simple and transparent taxation regime and taxes are quite affordable. The corporate tax is 16.5%.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Hong Kong?
Given Hong Kong’s take on cryptocurrencies, you should definitely take this country into account, especially if you’re going to focus on cryptos.
Australia has seen a huge increase in crypto and blockchain projects in the past couple of years. There are several successful companies, including Havven and Enosi, that managed to raise millions with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The Government of Australia has noticed the huge potential of the technology and decided to take action to support it.
Blockchain Legislation in Australia
Although there are no pieces of legislation that deal with cryptocurrency or blockchain regulations, the law in Australia does affect these technologies. According to GLI, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission released an information sheet in March 2017 that discussed which regulatory approach needs to be adopted in the future and what issues may arise.
The current regulatory framework is sufficient to cover the current state of DLT, but it may have to be altered in the future as the technology progresses. Make sure to check out this article by Cointelegraph that discusses Australia’s current state of affairs regarding cryptocurrencies, plans, and regulations.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Australia
Those who want to register a blockchain company will have to go through the same registration process as those who are registering any other company in the Land Down Under. It’s not a complicated process, but it does require a certain effort. Luckily, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission has made a great step-by-step explanation.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Australia
If you register a blockchain business that includes certain financial services, you may have to acquire the so-called Australian Financial Services License (ASFL). In that case, your business will have to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Australia
The corporate tax in Australia is expected to reach 30% before 2021, but how cryptocurrencies should be taxed has been debated over and over. The Australian Taxation Office recognizes cryptocurrencies as an asset rather than money.
The official page about the tax treatment of cryptocurrencies is very helpful and provides a lot of useful info regarding taxation. An important thing to take into account is that businesses that include digital currency transactions are subject to stock rules rather than CGT rules.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Australia?
Australia is certainly on a good way to become a digital currency and blockchain haven, so it should be considered an option.
Singapore is widely regarded as the Asian “crypto haven”. The small country has been an important financial center for a very long time, and it was only natural that its officials welcomed cryptos and blockchain with arms open wide.
Blockchain Legislation in Singapore
Singapore may not have completed its legislation regarding cryptos and blockchain, but its officials are definitely working hard on the matter. The country has a special organization called the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association that works closely with small and medium businesses in the industry.
The cryptocurrency space is not regulated per se, but a lot of activities that are part of it are regulated either under securities or some other legislation. The point is that Singaporean lawmakers left things open to interpretation, making their country pretty inviting for those who want to start a blockchain business.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Singapore
All you have to do to open a blockchain company in Singapore is register it as one of the structures the Commercial Law recognizes. The Singaporean government makes a special effort to help businesses and start-ups in this process and even helps them open local bank accounts.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Singapore
According to this WealthBridge article, if your company has something to do with finance, you’ll have to ask for a special license issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. However, if you’re an IT company, this type of license is not required.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Singapore
As stated in Private Finance, taxes in Singapore are considered mild compared to some other countries. Cryptocurrency and blockchain start-ups that receive revenue have to pay anywhere between 0% and 22% income tax, depending on their income.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Singapore?
Singapore is doing a great job when it comes to preparing the ground for further innovation in the digital currency and blockchain space. What seems to be the biggest advantage of this country is its flexible taxation system that makes it an ultimate tax haven for many companies around the globe.
Germany has been at the forefront of technological innovation for centuries. Berlin, in particular, has opened its doors to blockchain enthusiasts, being dubbed the Bitcoin Capital of Europe. This Reason Why article explains perfectly why Berlin is considered one of the best blockchain hubs in the world.
Blockchain Legislation in Germany
Germany was quick to make itself one of the blockchain-friendly countries by creating a good legislative framework for such businesses to flourish. In other words, most of the things are pretty clear regarding the way cryptocurrencies and blockchain are regulated in the country.
There are some discussions on the government’s official view on cryptocurrencies, as they are not recognized as money but merely an investment asset and a substitute to fiat. Some would dare say that the government is somewhat skeptical about cryptos. Yet, from the blockchain perspective, all seems to work well.
As of January 1, 2020, cryptocurrencies are considered a financial instrument in Germany.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Germany
Registering a blockchain company in Germany is the same as registering any other kind of company in this country. It’s not a difficult process, but asking for legal guidance from law professionals in the country is definitely a smart move.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Germany
According to this article on Cointelegraph, the so-called BaFin license needs to be obtained by cryptocurrency-related businesses, including wallet providers and exchanges. The license is issued by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority and is important for businesses since it allows them to adhere to new Anti-Money Laundering regulations.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Germany
The country has a favorable but rather complicated taxation system that’s also applicable to companies related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. What’s important to take into account is that some cryptocurrency operations can be exempt from VAT. This article on Expatica explains how corporate tax in Germany works.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Germany?
Although there are some countries in this world that may be more suitable in terms of tax, Germany remains one of the best places for those who want to be part of the blockchain community. There are numerous blockchain companies in Germany, especially in Berlin, that make it very popular for this type of business.
Since the introduction of the UK Cryptoassets Taskforce, the Island has been actively working on developing the legislative framework for cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses. The Taskforce focuses on exploring the impact of decentralized technologies and crypto assets in the UK. Moreover, it focuses on appropriate policy responses as a result of their research.
Blockchain Legislation in the UK
Taskforce published a report, making a clear taxonomy of crypto assets, with cryptocurrencies being recognized just as a sub-category. The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was inspired by it and made a more thorough taxonomy in its FCA Guidance. According to them, crypto assets are classified into security tokens, e-money tokens, and unregulated tokens.
This is important if your blockchain company focuses on finance since the taxonomy can help you gain better insight into the legislative framework. Make sure to check out the second chapter of this GLI text that covers this matter in depth.
Registering a Blockchain Company in the UK
To register a blockchain business in the UK, you need to follow the exact procedure that’s in place for registering any other type of business in the country. However, lawmakers in the UK want to increase regulatory certainty regarding cryptos and blockchain and are likely to introduce new measures that might affect the process of registering a company.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in the UK
Some businesses, mainly those focused on finance, require you to register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and obtain a license. Moreover, some businesses can obtain e-licenses, as stated on Comply Advantage.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in the UK
At the moment, there are no tax rules in the UK that pertain to cryptos or blockchain. However, the existing taxation system with all its rules and principles is applied. That’s especially true for corporate tax and businesses. Even VAT is charged in the UK, meaning there are definitely better options for taxpayers than the Island.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in the UK?
London (as well as some British protectorates such as the Isle of Man) has been a technology hub for blockchain projects and heaven for cryptocurrency companies. Although regulations and taxation may not be as great as in some Asian countries, the blockchain community in the UK has been growing steadily, with numerous start-ups flourishing across the country.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE doesn’t fool around when it comes to making itself an ultimate cryptocurrency and blockchain country. Recently, the lawmakers of the country announced launching a crypto valley in the free zone of Dubai, meaning companies will not have to pay personal or corporate tax there.
Blockchain Legislation in the United Arab Emirates
Anything connected to digital currencies was banned in the UAE until 2017 when the country’s officials decided to make it all legal and regulated with the Regulatory Framework for Stored Values and Electronic Payment Systems. Therefore, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies are now not only legal but also welcome and encouraged by the UAE Central Bank.
Registering a Blockchain Company in the United Arab Emirates
Wishing to become one of the best countries for blockchain companies, the UAE didn’t impose any strict rules for starting one such business within its borders. In other words, the process is quite straightforward as you only need to register your company as one of the available types and apply to receive a business license.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in the United Arab Emirates
Businesses that want to register in the free zone and buy, sell, or keep cryptocurrencies as part of their operations need to acquire a license issued by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.
If your project is a crypto exchange, you will have to obtain an additional license from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA). Exchanges will also have to go one step further and meet certain requirements to prevent market misconduct and operational risks.
Finally, holding ICOs might be the most difficult thing to pull off in the UAE as there are no laws related to them. However, note that the FSRA can review and approve some ICOs — just make sure to offer security tokens since other types are not regulated at the moment.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in the United Arab Emirates
No official taxes are applied to cryptocurrencies. Once the crypto valley in Dubai’s free zone is established, there will be no taxes whatsoever.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in the United Arab Emirates?
The UAE is further pushing the boundaries with the introduction of the crypto valley. It is open for business and shouldn’t be taken out of the equation when choosing the best country for your blockchain business.
The residents of Liechtenstein always knew how to handle finance, which has made their microstate the heart of the financial technology in Europe.
Blockchain Legislation in Liechtenstein
The Financial Market Authority has acknowledged the cryptocurrency creation company as a valid business model, meaning the entire cryptocurrency industry works pretty well in Liechtenstein.
It all started back in August 2018 when the Government issued the first draft of the Blockchain Act. This act includes requirements digital currency and blockchain services must meet in order to operate successfully. This article on LawyersLiechtenstein sums it up pretty neatly.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Liechtenstein
No specific requirements are in order when opening a cryptocurrency or blockchain business in the country, which makes Liechtenstein a very lucrative place for starting a digital currency or blockchain adventure.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Liechtenstein
All crypto and blockchain businesses that want to operate in the country must apply for a license issued by the Financial Market Authority that is directly responsible for implementing the Blockchain Act.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein has a very affordable corporate tax of 12.5%, which is one of the main reasons why foreign investors find it so interesting. The country also charges VAT that comes at 7.7% and is completely adopted from the Swiss VAT law.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Liechtenstein?
This small country is the crypto heart of Europe and has a huge potential to grow even more. It’s definitely worth considering as one of the primary options.
Bermuda underwent a sort of economic revolution when the new government was elected back in 2017. They set a goal to make the country one of the hotspots in the fintech sector. That allowed them to attract more overseas investments and set the cornerstone for the future development of the country.
Blockchain Legislation in Bermuda
After understanding the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the country’s lawmakers recognized the risks these technologies bring and made sure to provide a detailed regulatory framework.
The Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) made the so-called Digital Asset Business Act back in September 2018 that regulated activities involving digital assets and imposed requirements for licenses. Make sure to check out the GLI page for Bermuda to find additional details about it.
Registering a Blockchain Company in Bermuda
Setting up any kind of company, including blockchain-based ones, is a rather easy task in Bermuda. It takes one day to set up a limited company, partnership, or LLC, as long as your business has nothing to do with finance, as stated on the site of the Government of Bermuda.
Licensing of Blockchain Businesses in Bermuda
Since many blockchain businesses have to do something with finance, they need to get the Minister’s consent. Once you provide all the necessary info about your company, you can expect the process to take up to a week.
Taxation of Blockchain Companies in Bermuda
Digital assets in Bermuda are not taxed for income, withholding, capital gains, or anything else, according to GLI. Transactions of digital assets are not taxed either. Corporate entities also aren’t subject to income or capital gains.
Although the corporate tax is officially 25%, all LLCs that focus on digital assets can be exempt from taxation if the Minister of Finance allows it. In fact, these companies are very likely to receive such a promise from the Minister.
Should You Open a Blockchain Company in Bermuda?
Bermuda’s lawmakers are working hard to make their country ideal for opening cryptocurrency and blockchain companies. Although there’s still a lot to be done, you can enjoy the benefits of paying low taxes (or no taxes at all).
If you register a blockchain business in one of the countries listed above, you’re likely to enjoy some benefits. Some countries provide low taxes, while others offer a stimulating environment for developing innovative blockchain technologies.
What makes them all similar is the fact that their governments recognized the importance of blockchain, as well as the entire fintech industry. They are working hard on making things better for individuals and companies operating as part of the industry.
Please take into account that all the pieces of information in this article do not represent any kind of official legal or financial advice. They are just for informative purposes and they merely scratch the surface.
Once you select a country where you are going to start your blockchain business, make sure to do in-depth research about the actual process of registering a company. Also, feel free to seek legal advice from professionals from the country of your choice in order to avoid possible complications during the registration process.