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Austrian FMA Provides Roadmap for Authorization of Crypto-Asset Service Providers

27 February 2024

The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) is gearing up to oversee the authorization and supervision of crypto-asset service providers (CASPs) under the new EU Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA). New information on the website of the FMA provides a roadmap for the authorization process and outlines the FMA's supervisory expectations.

Engage Early, Prepare Thoroughly

The FMA encourages companies that are already making concrete preparations to apply for authorization as a CASP to contact the FMA as soon as possible to schedule an introductory meeting. The FMA will use these preliminary discussions to provide information about the FMA's expectations regarding the content and quality of potential authorization applications, as well as about the applicants themselves, and to obtain information about the applicants' respective undertakings and business models. To that end, the FMA requests that companies answer a questionnaire and submit all relevant documents when requesting a meeting.

Authorization Timeline

The FMA expects to start the formal authorization application phase as soon as October 2024. The FMA does not provide a general indication as to how long the application process will take. However, the FMA notes that the time required will depend on the quality of the application, the documentation provided, the complexity of the applicant’s corporate structure and the underlying business model.

Focus on AML/CFT Compliance

The FMA notes that in the application proceeding CASPs will be required to demonstrate compliance with applicable anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) regulations. Applicants will be required to provide detailed documentation on its internal control system and risk assessments. It will also be important that applicants demonstrate that their anti-money laundering officer (AMLO) and deputy have sufficient professional qualifications and personal integrity to perform their respective functions.

Final Thoughts

The FMA's structured approach to regulating CASPs under MiCA highlights the Austrian commitment to fostering a secure and regulated crypto-asset market. For businesses aiming to enter this space, the message is clear: early engagement, thorough preparation, and strict compliance with AML and CFT regulations are key to successfully navigating Austria's authorization procedure.

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