Lithuania Issues ICO Guidelines, Deems Tokens To Be Securities


On Friday, the Ministry of Finance for Lithuania released guidelines covering initial coin offerings (ICOs). The report outlines the characteristics of ICOs and tokens, and clarifies which Lithuanian finance laws will apply in each case.

In ICO guidelines published June 8, 2018, Lithuanian Minister of Finance Vilius Šapoka highlighted the country’s positive attitude toward its new crypto economy. The publication defines ICOs and asserts that if tokens have the characteristics of securities, then Lithuanian securities laws will apply. All ICOs and tokens will be subject to Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing laws.

The guidelines classify tokens issued as part of ICOs as those that either “grant profit or governance rights” or those that don’t. Tokens are further broken down into categories that specify the applicable set of laws and regulations, such as securities, crowdfunding, financial instrument markets, and collective investments.


The guidelines clarify asset class, how taxation will apply, and how tokens should be accounted for. They explain the tax rules for corporate and personal investors and how founders of ICOs will be taxed.

Introducing the new guidelines, Šapoka wrote that they are intended to promote innovation and investment opportunities while safeguarding the financial system, protecting customers, and preventing money laundering and financing to terrorists. He also said:

“We can not ignore the development of new financial instruments and phenomenon of blockchain technology. We do believe that certain usage of it, such as ICOs, should be regulated. Lithuania already has an exceptional regulatory advantage. We are one of the first [countries] in Europe who prepared comprehensive Guidelines on legal framework for ICO projects covering regulatory as well as taxation and accounting.”


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