Singapore-based crypto debit card provider TenX received an e-money license in Liechtenstein. The company can now offer its products and services throughout the entire European Economic Area.
It was no secret that TenX was eyeing at the European market to distribute its crypto debit cards. After the Singapore-based company had launched its product in Asian markets earlier this year, CEO Toby Hoenisch said in January, “the next step will be Europe. We are working with partners in Europe to obtain a license.”
Their application was successful. The Financial Market Authority Liechtenstein (FMA) has issued an e-money license to the company. According to TenX, it is the first time in history that a company funded via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) has received a license of this kind.
An e-money license allows issuance of payment tokens and electronic money transfers
An e-money license is not the same as a full banking license. It only allows businesses to issue and transfer electronic money, but not to offer a full range of banking products. The license also enables companies to issue payment tokens. The concrete rules are outlined in the EEA-relevant DIRECTIVE 2009/110/EC.
Even though it’s not a full banking license, an e-money license works for crypto debit cards, because issuing a payment token and transferring electronic money is what’s essentially needed to operate such a service.
Liechtenstein as a base for payment services in Europe
Firms that obtain an e-money license in a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) – which Liechtenstein is a member of – can passport this license to other EEA countries and transfer money throughout the entire region. That means the e-money license by the FMA enables TenX to roll out its product across Europe, without having to apply for further licenses in other countries.
Thomas Duenser, Director of the Office for Financial Market Innovation in Liechtenstein, comments, “Liechtenstein is striving to provide the best legal and administrative framework for technology-oriented companies in combination with our long-standing tradition of being one of the core financial centers in Europe.”
He continues, “The decision of TenX to set up its core activities in Liechtenstein and contribute actively to the Liechtenstein Blockchain Ecosystem shows that Liechtenstein’s strategy is well received by the market. TenX has worked intensively for several months in order to become a regulated financial institution. I congratulate them on this success.”
Regaining strength after a difficult start
TenX had a jumpstart in 2017 when it raised a whopping $80 million via an ICO. The company had set out to “make cryptocurrencies spendable anytime anywhere” by connecting Bitcoin to the real world with a Visa debit card. The platform-native PAY token would entitle holders to dividend payments generated from the use of its cards.
In January 2018 the company began to struggle when Visa suspended its card issuer WaveCrest. One year later TenX had still not delivered on its promises and made negative headlines again when its president Julian Hosp stepped down after allegations that linked him to Lyoness, a supposedly illegal pyramid scheme.
But that’s all history. Since early 2019, the TenX card has been live in Asia. It can be used to pay for purchases in normal shops with cryptocurrencies.