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.