Less than a year ago, Estonia introduced licensing for cryptocurrency related companies operating in the country. The Northern Europe country is among the first countries in the European Union to formally legalize cryptocurrencies. However, less than a year since the country regulated the sector, it has issued more than 900 licenses. Estonia has adopted a regulation that is crypto friendly. Citizens can file their company in less than an hour on the website of the Estonian government.
A local law firm, Njord, which works with the cryptocurrency sector, recently published an overview regarding crypto licenses in Estonia. Nikolay Demchuk who works with the firm reported that obtaining a license is a quick and easy process. However, it takes about two weeks to get approval. Estonia grants two different types of licenses. Businesses are however required to meet up with some basic terms and conditions which includes, know-your-customer and anti-money laundering regulations. The license is issued by the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). The regulatory body reviews each application within 30 days and grants approval within a period of one or two weeks. Also, a company can have its license revoked if the company has not started operations within six months of receiving it.
The FIU has issued around 500 licenses to companies operating cryptocurrency exchange platforms and over 400 licenses to cryptocurrency wallet providers. Crypto related companies registered in Estonia can operate legally in the EU. Licensed companies are also required to adhere to the local and European laws.
Despite the favourable regulatory environment, Nikolay Demchuk revealed, “Opening a bank account is the biggest problem facing crypto companies. Estonian banks are not yet ready to serve clients operating with cryptocurrency.” Since access to regular banking services remains restricted to Estonian fintech businesses, many of these companies are now seeking services from foreign banks and payment providers.
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