1. Compliance
  2. Cryptocurrencies
  3. Cryptocurrency services

Cryptocurrency services

Cryptocurrencies are digital tokens available online via exchanges, initial coin offers (ICOs) and token events. If your business is based in New Zealand and you provide a ‘financial service’ related to cryptocurrencies, you need to comply with the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008. Key activities considered ‘financial services’ include exchanges, wallets, deposits, and broking.

Exchanges

Exchanges issuing their own cryptocurrency to facilitate trading fall within the financial service category of ‘issuing and managing means of payment’.

Exchanges allowing cryptocurrency trading fall within the financial service category of ‘operating a value transfer service’.

If you allow trading of cryptocurrencies or tokens that are financial products under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMC Act) you need to consider whether you are operating a financial product market: market-operators/who-needs-to-comply/

Wallets

If you’re a wallet provider storing cryptocurrency or money on behalf of others, and you facilitate exchanges between cryptocurrencies or between money and cryptocurrencies, your services fall within the category of ‘operating a value transfer service’.

If you hold money for depositors you may be offering debt securities. However, if depositor funds are held in trust, your wallets may not be debt securities. Debt securities are financial products. They have additional regulatory requirements under the FMC Act. 

Broking

If you arrange cryptocurrency transactions, you are providing the financial service of ‘operating a value transfer service’. If you provide transaction services in relation to cryptocurrencies or tokens that are financial products you may have obligations as a broker under the Financial Advisers Act 2008: brokers-and-custodians/who-needs-to-comply/.

Registration and other obligations

If you provide a financial service you must:

  • be a member of a dispute resolution scheme if the financial services are provided to retail clients
  • be registered on the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR) for each category of financial service you provide
  • pay the applicable fees and levies for the relevant categories of financial service you provide
  • comply with the fair dealing provisions in Part 2 of the FMC Act. These prohibit misleading conduct and deceptive statements being made in relation to financial services
  • comply with anti-money laundering obligations.

Talk to us early

Given the bespoke nature of cryptocurrency-related financial services, we encourage you to approach us early about the services you plan to offer. We are happy to discuss requirements with you and your legal advisers on an individual basis. Get in touch at: questions@fma.govt.nz