Estonia has issued over 900 licenses to cryptocurrency businesses

17 Nov, 2018
by Richard Allen
Estonia has issued over 900 licenses to cryptocurrency businesses

It hasn’t even been a year since Estonia introduced licensing for crypto-related companies, yet the number of licenses issued is now over 900, reports.

Estonia is one of the first European Union member countries to formally legalize cryptocurrencies. It’s reported that over 500 licenses have been issued to entities operating digital asset exchanges, and over 400 wallet providers have been licensed as well.

Local law firm, Njord, which is familiar with the cryptocurrency sector, recently published an overview regarding crypto licenses in Estonia. The report states that obtaining a license is a quick and easy process. Though there have allegedly been complaints from crypto startups in the country that banks are still reluctant to offer their services to those operating in the digital asset sector.

Estonia's financial regulator in charge of issuing the licenses, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), has up to 30 days to review each application. Generally, however, approval is granted within one or two weeks, though licenses can be revoked if the company hasn’t started operations within six months of receiving approval.

The FIU’s main concern regarding applications is whether businesses comply with KYC and AML  regulations. Crypto companies registered within Estonia have to comply with the laws that govern the rest of the European Union.

Traditional financial institutions have remained reluctant to involve themselves with the crypto sphere, resulting in Estonian crypto companies being forced to work with foreign banks and payment providers. Nikolay Demchuk, a lawyer at Njord, stated:

“Opening a bank account is the biggest problem facing crypto companies. Estonian banks are not yet ready to serve clients operating with cryptocurrency.”

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