So you know you want to make a blockchain startup, but what exactly do you want it to do? Blockchain is a rapidly expanding sector with plentiful opportunities spanning finance, legal, entertainment and gambling, financial services, apps, logistics, eCommerce, governance, and much more. If you want to make your dream a reality, here are some things to consider carefully before you take your first steps.
The overwhelming majority of blockchain startups are currently in the finance and insurance sector, accounting for some 35%, followed by trading and investments (11.6%), payment products (7.7%) and digital wallets (4.9%). Another leading sector is IT, which includes infrastructure products, platforms and consultancies. Smaller but still noteworthy verticals are identity and reputation, provenance and notary, government and transparency, logistics and transport, and energy.
The sector is a little over a decade old, meaning there are many previously untapped directions for you to go in. All you have to do is get the best idea, fine-tune it to the market’s needs, and have the drive to make it happen.
When it comes to picking the best jurisdiction for your blockchain startup, it really depends on what kind of activities your startup will carry out. Malta has long been one of the leading jurisdictions for businesses in this sector as it rolled out a comprehensive framework in 2018, making it the first country in the world to do so.
Licenses are now issued for companies operating in the cryptocurrency sector, and they are divided into four kinds, covering eight different services. A Class 1 License covers the reception and transmission of orders, the provision of investment advice, and the placing of virtual financial assets. A Class 2 License covers any of the eight services except operating an exchange and dealing on own account. A Class 3 License refers to any service excluding the operation of a VFA exchange, and a Class 4 allows all eight services to be provided. As you would expect, the costs associated with each license increase between 1 and 4.
Another good licensing regime is Costa Rica, where you can set up an online gambling company without any kind of license. Instead, all you need to do is incorporate an online gambling company, specifying that activities will include online gambling service provisions outside of Costa Rica.
The UK is also a great option as it is home to the world’s second-biggest number of blockchain startups and provides licenses for certian sectors while not requiring them for others. You can also consider Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Cyprus, or even Singapore. If you are unsure, just contact Fast Offshore, and we will be happy to guide you to the proper jurisdiction for your needs.
Licensing and company incorporation
Depending on the jurisdiction and sector you choose, you may need a license to operate legally. But in all cases, you will also need to incorporate a company to hold your business and any fiscal obligations. In many cases, you can simply open an offshore company, which brings a range of benefits to you.
An offshore company is incorporated in an offshore jurisdiction, which is different from the one you live in or hold a passport of. This kind of corporate structure brings flexibility, privacy, fiscal benefits, and often, lower set-up costs and timeframes. It is also worth noting that typically, an offshore company does not carry out activities in the country where it is located; instead, it conducts them from it elsewhere.
Offshore companies are completely legal and are widely used for legitimate business activities, including blockchain startups and crypto companies. Fast Offshore works in several leading offshore jurisdictions and can incorporate a company for you, offer you a shelf company, and help you with any necessary licensing if required. Additionally, we assist with all ongoing corporate maintenance, including renewals, compliance, and reporting.
If you are working in eCommerce, gambling, or exchanges, you will likely need to set up payment systems to help you. This could take the form of software or a gateway facilitating cryptocurrency payments, fiat payments, or both.
You could also look at other methods such as processors like PayPal, Stripe, Square, BitPay and many others. Then, of course, you will also need a bank account where your fiat funds will be held. When working in an offshore jurisdiction or high-risk sectors like eCommerce, exchanges, or gambling, it can be hard to find a bank to cooperate with you.
But do not worry; Fast Offshore has worked with many high-risk providers over the years, and we can help you find the best bank for you while guiding you through the process. If you want to stick to just crypto payments, we can also help you with that.
As with any business, as a blockchain start-up entrepreneur, you must keep up with compliance. Precisely what these measures consist of will depend on various factors, including: where you are based, what kind of business you have, whether you have a license, whether you accept payments, and more.
In the case of iGaming and exchanges, there may also be restrictions on who your customers can be, their age, and where they are based. Compliance can be costly and complex to keep up with, but failure to do so can result in even bigger consequences. For example, you could end up with fines, license revocations or even criminal charges.
Fast Offshore has been working in the blockchain sector since day one. Our team is ideally placed to assist you with every step of the process and manage your corporate needs going forward. To speak to a member of our team today, contact us here.