How To Get a Crypto License in 2024

How To Get a Crypto License in 2024

How To Get a Crypto License in 2024

As we step into 2024, securing a crypto license is paramount for businesses looking to excel in the increasingly regulated cryptocurrency market. This article offers a comprehensive overview of the essential steps to achieve licensure, from understanding the diverse types of crypto licenses and choosing the right jurisdiction to overcoming the application process effectively.


With a focus on the key strategies for compliance and successful operation within this dynamic industry, we aim to equip you with the knowledge needed to secure your crypto license in 2024.




Key Takeaways:

  • Identifying the correct type of crypto license, such as broker, custody, or exchange, is crucial for businesses to align with specific regulatory requirements and operational needs.

  • Selecting an appropriate jurisdiction involves strategic consideration of regulatory environments, tax implications, and market access opportunities, significantly impacting a crypto business’s ability to operate compliantly in targeted markets.

  • Adhering to a detailed process for acquiring a crypto license requires meticulous preparation of documentation, understanding of legal standards, and commitment to ongoing compliance.




What is a cryptocurrency license?

A cryptocurrency license is a formal authorization granted by regulatory authorities, allowing companies to conduct specific activities within the crypto market, such as executing trades, operating an exchange, managing wallets, etc.. This licensure acts as a hallmark of legitimacy and compliance, reassuring both users and regulators of the company’s adherence to established financial and security standards.


Given the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, licensure requirements can significantly vary from one jurisdiction to another, reflecting the developing global regulatory landscapes for cryptocurrencies. Therefore, it’s essential for crypto companies to obtain licensure in the geographic verticals they wish to operate within. This ensures legal operations across borders but also enhances the company’s reputation in the global marketplace, making it a key step for businesses aiming to operate within the crypto space.




Types of Crypto Licenses

Different business requirements necessitate distinct types of licenses in the cryptocurrency industry. Each license caters to specific operational aspects, ensuring businesses comply with relevant regulations and standards.


Broker License

A broker license is pivotal for firms that serve as intermediaries in the cryptocurrency trading process, facilitating the buy and sell orders for their clients. These companies must implement stringent risk management practices, abide by market conduct regulations, and ensure transparent transaction reporting to comply with financial laws. The license mandates the demonstration of adequate capital, sophisticated trading platforms, and fair pricing mechanisms to protect and benefit the consumer.


Custody License

The custody license is designated for businesses responsible for safeguarding clients’ digital assets. It underscores the necessity for high-level security measures to prevent unauthorized access and potential theft of cryptocurrencies. Applicants are required to showcase advanced security features, such as multi-signature wallets and cold storage facilities, along with comprehensive audit trails and emergency plans to address potential security breaches effectively.


Mining License

In certain regions, companies engaged in blockchain transaction validation or mining must obtain a mining license. This license typically focuses on the environmental impact of mining operations, adherence to specific equipment standards, and efficient energy consumption practices. Although not universally mandated, where it is required, it ensures that mining activities are conducted responsibly, with a clear mechanism for managing the rewards and fees accrued.


Money Transmitter License

Companies that facilitate the transfer of cryptocurrencies or their conversion between digital and fiat currencies are required to hold a money transmitter license. This regulatory approval is important for adhering to anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) standards. It obligates companies to maintain a minimum level of operational capital, secure bonding, and enforce stringent consumer protection policies.


Wallet License

A wallet license is essential for entities offering digital wallets for storing, sending, and receiving cryptocurrencies. Such businesses must prove their capability to secure private keys and safeguard against unauthorized transactions. They are also tasked with ensuring user privacy, through encryption or other means, and providing reliable solutions for account recovery in cases of lost access credentials.


Crypto Exchange License

For platforms facilitating the exchange of cryptocurrencies, a crypto exchange license is a cornerstone of operational legitimacy. It signifies adherence to regulatory standards concerning transaction security, user verification, and financial compliance. Exchange operators must demonstrate a capacity for handling high-volume transactions securely, ensuring customer funds’ safety, and implementing effective anti-fraud measures.



Successfully operating within the complicated landscape of cryptocurrency regulation requires a deep understanding of these varied licenses. Companies must not only secure the appropriate licenses for their operations but also continuously monitor and adapt to regulatory changes across different jurisdictions to ensure ongoing compliance.




Steps to Obtain a Crypto License in 2024

Obtaining a crypto license is a meticulous process that requires careful planning and adherence to regulatory standards. Here’s a streamlined guide to work through the essentials:


1. Choose a Suitable Jurisdiction

When seeking a crypto license, choosing the right jurisdiction is crucial. This decision hinges on factors such as legal clarity, favorable tax regimes, and a supportive environment for fintech and cryptocurrency. It’s essential to conduct thorough due diligence, not only to assess the current regulatory landscape but also to anticipate future changes. For instance, the European Union is introducing a new regulatory framework, MiCA, in 2024, highlighting the importance of staying informed about upcoming regulations. This approach ensures your business is compliant and adaptable in the rapidly evolving crypto industry.


2. Legal Entity Formation

For crypto companies, establishing a legal entity within your selected jurisdiction demands extra attention due to the increased scrutiny in the industry. This essential step involves structuring your business in a way that adheres to local corporate laws while effectively supporting your operational and strategic objectives. Selecting the appropriate corporate entity, such as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, is vital, based on your specific legal and financial needs. It’s also necessary to establish a clear governance structure, detailing roles and responsibilities for your management team and board of directors. This careful approach to business formation is key for crypto companies to successfully meet the complex regulatory demands of the industry and ensure strong leadership and strategic direction from the start.


3. Prepare Documentation

Organizing the necessary documentation is a pivotal step in securing a crypto license. This task requires assembling a comprehensive business plan that delineates your operational strategies and financial projections. Additionally, it’s essential to develop detailed policies for Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF), and Know Your Customer (KYC) that adhere to both local and international regulations. Beyond these foundational documents, preparing a white paper or similar detailed document that explains your technology, business model, and the value proposition of your crypto services or products is key. This white paper should serve as a clear, informative guide for regulators, partners, and customers, showcasing your commitment to operational transparency.


4. Appoint Required Officers

Identifying and appointing specific officers such as a Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Technology Officer is essential for your organization. These individuals must have the expertise necessary to ensure your business adheres to legal standards and maintains operational efficiency. Their roles are key to managing regulatory waters, from implementing AML policies to overseeing financial management and securing IT infrastructure. Their leadership is integral in meeting regulatory demands and facilitating the smooth operation of your business in the dynamic crypto environment.


5. Application Submission and Fee Payment

The submission of your application and the payment of associated fees represent a pivotal moment in the licensure process, where all your preparatory efforts converge. This step is crucial as it is essentially a make-or-break point for obtaining your license. The application must detail your business model, ownership structure, risk management practices, and security protocols, showcasing your readiness to operate within regulatory guidelines. Additionally, the application fees introduce a barrier to entry, emphasizing the seriousness and financial commitment required to enter the crypto market. Successfully navigating this phase underscores your dedication to compliance and operational excellence, setting the stage for your business’s potential approval and launch.


6. Launch and Ongoing Compliance

After successfully obtaining your license—congratulations are in order!—the real work begins to ensure your crypto business remains compliant and adheres to the regulatory framework of your jurisdiction. This ongoing commitment involves regularly reviewing and updating your compliance procedures, conducting internal audits to ensure adherence to AML, CTF, and KYC regulations, and staying abreast of any changes in the legal landscape. It’s also critical to engage in continuous training for your staff to keep them informed of regulatory updates and compliance best practices. Maintaining your license requires a proactive approach to compliance, with a focus on safeguarding your clients’ assets and data, thereby ensuring your business continues to operate within the legal boundaries set by the regulatory body you’re accountable to.


Remember, these steps represent key milestones in the licensure process, but there are other important tasks and considerations between each step that are crucial for securing and maintaining your license. Ensuring you work through these nuances carefully will be vital for the success and legality of your crypto operation.




Crypto Friendly Jurisdictions

Selecting the optimal jurisdiction for a crypto license is a strategic decision that significantly impacts the operation and growth of a crypto business. Various countries offer distinct regulatory landscapes, each with its benefits, challenges, and requirements. Here are some notable jurisdictions for crypto licensing, highlighting the importance of aligning your business strategy with the regulatory environment.



Estonia stands out for its streamlined and cost-effective licensing process, appealing to startups and established businesses alike. With an efficient system that allows for the acquisition of a crypto license within approximately 5-6 weeks and at a cost of around 1900 EUR, Estonia offers a gateway to the European market under a favorable regulatory regime.



In Lithuania, the clarity of regulations and the establishment of a clear pathway for crypto licensing make it an attractive jurisdiction. Required steps include forming a Lithuanian company, maintaining a minimum capital, and registering with the local financial authority. The process, taking about 6-7 weeks and costing roughly 2500 EUR, positions Lithuania as a competitive choice for businesses aiming to navigate the European crypto space.



Known for its progressive stance on crypto and blockchain technologies, Gibraltar requires companies to obtain specific licenses, such as the EMI or DLT license, compliant with the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. This jurisdiction is favored for its supportive regulatory environment, offering a solid foundation for businesses looking to innovate within secure regulatory parameters.



Dubbed “Blockchain Island,” Malta provides a comprehensive regulatory framework under the Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) Act. This clarity and support for blockchain technologies make Malta a prime location for crypto businesses seeking a robust and clear regulatory environment in the heart of the Mediterranean.



Singapore’s reputation as a business-friendly and innovative hub extends to the crypto sector. With clear guidelines from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country is an attractive destination for crypto businesses looking to benefit from a strategic location, strong economic infrastructure, and a forward-thinking regulatory approach.



Switzerland offers a stable and clear regulatory environment, with guidelines from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority that cater specifically to crypto businesses. The country’s commitment to privacy and economic stability, alongside its openness to blockchain technology, makes it a preferred jurisdiction for many in the industry.


United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE, particularly Dubai, is rapidly becoming a hub for crypto enterprises, thanks to its welcoming stance towards the industry. The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has rolled out a clear and detailed framework for crypto companies, outlining licensing requirements and operational guidelines. With its strategic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and dynamic economic environment, the UAE is an appealing destination for crypto entrepreneurs seeking growth and innovation opportunities.


United States

The United States is known as one of the most challenging legal territories for crypto businesses, given its detailed federal and state-level regulations. Despite these challenges, the significant market and technological infrastructure attract companies. States such as Arizona, Florida, Wyoming, and Texas are recognized for their crypto-friendly tax policies, offering exemptions and incentives that benefit crypto businesses. On the other hand, California, Hawaii, and New York have higher state taxes and more stringent regulations, making them less favorable for individuals and crypto enterprises.


When choosing you should weigh a combination of factors such as regulatory clarity, cost, processing time, and the strategic fit with your business model. Each jurisdiction offers unique advantages (and disadvantages), making it essential to conduct thorough research and probably consult with legal experts to make an informed decision that aligns with your company’s goals and operational scope.




Conclusion and Next Steps

Securing a crypto license in 2024 is crucial for businesses looking to operate legally in the fast-paced cryptocurrency market. This process demands a thorough understanding of various regulatory requirements and a commitment to compliance and security standards. By choosing an appropriate jurisdiction and meticulously following the application steps, companies can establish a legitimate presence, ensuring trust among users and regulators.


For those aiming to secure a crypto license, especially focused on exchange-related licensure in the US and European territories, Shift Markets stands out as the go-to partner. Our expertise in US and European regulations means we’re well-equipped to guide you through the process, ensuring your crypto venture complies with all legal standards. With Shift Markets, you’re not just meeting regulatory requirements; you’re setting your business up for success in these pivotal markets, all with clarity and precision. Reach out today to get started.




Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors. The content on this site is for educational purposes only. Please consult a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.

shiftmarkets newsletter

Want to learn more?

Let us save you time by walking you through what Shift can do for your business!

See in action