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Italy: Decree establishing mandatory registration for virtual currencies and digital wallet service providers published in Official Gazette

The Decree of 13 January 2022 from the Ministry of Economics and Finance concerning the methods and timeframes with which service providers relating to the use of virtual currency and digital wallets are required to communicate their operations on the Italian territory was published, on 17 February 2022, in the Official Gazette. In particular, the Decree introduces for virtual currencies and digital wallet service providers that operate on a professional basis, the obligation to register in a special section of the currency exchange register, maintained by the Body for the Management of the Lists of Financial Agents and Credit Brokers ('OAM').

More specifically, Article 3(2) of the Decree outlines that, for the purposes of the abovementioned registration, virtual currencies and digital wallet service providers are required to submit a communication to the OAM. According to the same Article, the communication to the OAM represents an essential condition for the legal exercise of virtual currencies and digital wallet service providers' activity in the Italian territory. According to Article 3(1) of the Decree, the registration is subject to the requirements listed by Article 17-bis(2) of Legislative Decree No. 141 of 13 August 2010.

Further, the OAM is obliged to initiate the special section of the register in question within 90 days from the entry into force of the Decree, following which virtual currencies and digital wallet service providers already operating in the Italian territory, including online, must notify the OAM of their operation within 60 days, pursuant to Articles 4(1) and 3(3) of the Decree.

Notably, Article 7 of the Decree provides that the OAM shall implement, within 60 days from the entry into force of the Decree and, in any case, before commencing the processing of personal data, having received an opinion of the Italian data protection authority ('Garante'), adequate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk, in order to protect the personal data contained in the register, including the maximum retention periods.

You can read the Official Gazette, only available in Italian, here.