Estonia ups requirements for virtual currency licences
The Estonian government has approved a bill to toughen the regulation on granting virtual currency activity licences to service providers.
The Minister of Finance, Martin Helme, calls this a significant step forward in preventing money laundering in the field of cryptocurrencies and is determined that it must not be the last step.
“We have learned our lesson from the banking sector the hard way, and we must now deal with new international risks, with cryptocurrencies among the most urgent of these,” Helme says.
The Minister pointed out that the risks linked to virtual currencies have been highlighted by the authorities responsible for preventing money laundering as well as by the government committee.
The bill tasks the Financial Intelligence Unit with checking the background and suitability of the members of the board of the company as part of the process of granting a virtual currency activity licence.
The bill also requires the registered address of the company, the board and the activities to be located in Estonia. Foreign companies must open a branch in Estonia to receive an activity licence.
In addition, the state fee of the virtual currency activity licence would increase from €345 to €3,300. The term for granting or denying a licence would also be lengthened from 30 business days to three months.
The Minister of Finance stresses that the amendments were definitely not intended to stop the trade of cryptocurrencies in Estonia. “However, we must regulate the field much more thoroughly to prevent and combat risks related to money laundering.”