In its announcement on 7 January 2021, the Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC), as the competent authority, calls the Providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies, and the custodian wallet Providers, to be registered in the relevant registers kept by the HCMC by January 31, 2021.
How are virtual currencies and wallets defined in Greek law?
Virtual currencies are defined in Greek Law no. 4557/2018, as amended by Law no. 4734/2020, as “a digital representation of value that is not issued or guaranteed by a central bank or a public authority, is not necessarily attached to a legally established currency and does not possess a legal status of currency or money, but is accepted by natural or legal persons as a means of exchange and which can be transferred, stored and traded electronically “. Examples of virtual currencies are Bitcoin, LiteCoin, Ethereum, Polkadot and many more, and are used for investment purposes and the conduct of transactions.
Accordingly, the wallet is a means (software application or other mechanism) for holding, storing and transferring virtual currencies. The custodian wallet provider facilitates the participation in a virtual currency system and the conduct of virtual currency transactions, holds the user’s private keys, maintains the customer’s virtual currency balance, provides storage for virtual currencies and transaction security. The wallets may be stored both online (hot storage) and offline (cold storage). In Greek Law no 4557/2018, as currently in force, “custodian wallet provider” means an entity that provides services to safeguard private cryptographic keys on behalf of its customers, to hold, store and transfer virtual currencies.
In this respect, the Hellenic Capital Market Commission is now keeping the following registers a) Register for Providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies; and b) Register for custodian wallet Providers, as the competent authority thereof pursuant to Greek Law no. 4557/2018, as amended by Law no 4734/2020 in order to transpose into Greek Law, Directive (EU) 2018/843 (AMLD V).
The Providers who intend to provide their services in Greece or to provide their services from Greece to other countries should be registered in the relevant registers before the commencement of their activity. Providers that are already active in Greece are required by the HCMC to submit an application to be registered in the relevant registers by January 31, 2021. After this date, the HCMC will impose on any unregistered Providers sanctions (art. 46 of the Greek Law no 4557/2018) which may include a ban on the provision of these services.
The registration in the relevant register requires the submission of the registration application, including the necessary information and documents, to the HCMC, for natural and legal persons as Providers, respectively, a lump sum registration fee for the submission of the application and the processing of their registration in the relevant register and an annual fee covering the supervision costs.
At the following link you may find the article in Greek as it was published at capital.gr