Estonia toughens its cryptocurrency regulations

The Estonian government has approved a bill to toughen regulations which cover the activity of virtual currencies.

“We have learned our lesson from the banking sector the hard way, and we must now deal with new international risks, and cryptocurrencies are amongst the most urgent of these,” said Estonia’s minister of finance, Martin Helme.

The bill introduces a number of formal obligations for granting virtual currency activity licences to service providers active in the sale and purchase of virtual currency or who provide virtual currency wallet services.

The application processing time will be extended from 30 to 90 days, and companies will need to incorporate in Estonia or open an Estonian branch of a foreign company.

“Moreover, the registered office address and the board of directors need to be in Estonia. So far, the state fee for the issuance of the license was 345 euros. The amendment increases it to 3330 euros for one license. It will be hard to get a cryptocurrency license now. The Financial Intelligence Unit has the right to invite applicants to an interview to check their knowledge of anti-money laundering procedures. I hope that Estonia will continue to attract foreign businesses working with cryptocurrencies,” said Paweł Krok, CEO at Eesti Consulting.

Current license holders have until December 31, 2019 to meet the new requirements.