Central Bank of Ireland Issues Important Clarification Regarding Investments in Digital Assets including certain Cryptocurrencies

By Judie Rinearson and Richard Kerr

On 4 April 2023, the Central Bank of Ireland (the Central Bank) published the 47th edition of its Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) Q&A document (the AIFMD Q&A).   See: https://www.centralbank.ie/docs/default-source/regulation/industry-market-sectors/funds/aifs/guidance/qa/aifmd-qa–edition-47.pdf?sfvrsn=86eb991d_1

The AIFMD Q&A includes a significant development:  The Central Bank has clarified the ability of Irish Qualifying Investor Alternative Investment Funds (QIAIFs) to invest in digital assets, including cryptocurrencies.  The AIFMD Q&A (Question ID1145) defines digital assets as follows:

Digital assets are assets that exist in digital form and attach ownership rights that depend primarily on cryptography and distributed ledger or similar technology. The nature and characteristics of digital-assets vary considerably. For example, digital-assets that are tokenised traditional assets (whose value is linked to an underlying traditional asset or a pool of traditional assets (such as financial instruments or commodities) may have a different risk profile when compared to other digital-assets that are based on an intangible or non-traditional underlying. For the purposes of this Q&A “digital-asset” is used to refer to the latter type of digital-asset.

As noted in the AIFMD Q&A, the Central Bank permits indirect investment in digital assets (provided certain conditions are met), but does not yet permit direct investment. 

To learn more about this important development please read the Alert published by our colleagues, Shane Geraghty and Michelle Lloyd, at https://www.klgates.com/Central-Bank-of-Ireland-Issues-New-Guidance-on-Investment-by-Digital-Assets-by-QIAIFs-4-5-2023.

Copyright © 2023, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.