Cryptocompanies in Estonia: adapt or liquidate?

From this article, you’ll learn what new requirements are presented to cryptocurrency exchange and crypto-wallet service providers, and what companies with valid licenses should undertake no later than 01.07.2020.
On December 11, 2019, the Estonian Parliament adopted a new version of the Law on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism. The changes mainly concern cryptocurrency service providers (cryptocurrency exchange and crypto wallet). The main goal of the amendments is to strengthen the position of the regulator (the Bureau of Data on Money Laundering) in the licensing and supervision procedures of cryptocurrency companies. 

Major changes: 
  • the existing two types of licenses will be combined into one license with two services;
  • regulation will now also apply to the exchange of cryptocurrencies for another cryptocurrency (previously there was only cryptocurrency vs fiat money exchange); 
  • state fee for a new license application is increased from 345 euros to 3,300 euros; 
  • the “know your client” principle and other AML measures shall be the same as those applied by financial institutions; 
  • the legal address of the company, the actual activities, the location of the management board and the AML officer must be in Estonia; 
  • the minimum share capital will now be 12,000 euros (currently 2,500 euros); 
  • the regulator has 60 days to decide on the issuance of a license with the possibility of renewal up to 120 days (currently 30 days); 
  • stricter proffesional and personal compliance of management board members. The changes took effect on March 10, 2020. 

Companies with valid licenses must bring their activities in line with the new requirements no later than July 1, 2020.