Estonia: New Amendments Set To Tighten Up Cryptocurrency Regulation

Kevin O'Brien

Estonia’s Ministry of Finance is set to strengthen regulations pertaining to cryptocurrency by adding amendments to a newly-passed financial bill, according to Estonian financial newspaper Aripaev.

The nation’s Financial Supervision Authority has indicated that companies who offer services related to cryptocurrencies pose a money laundering risk, triggering the addition of the new amendments.

A new version of an anti-money laundering and terrorism financing prevention legislation came into effect last week. It reportedly ropes in “virtual currency payment service providers” and “virtual currency exchange service providers.”

Conforming To European Union Standards

The legislation is reportedly in line with European Union standards for preventing money laundering.

The body’s ‘Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive’ calls for the creation of a “strengthened, yet more flexible, regime by further promoting a risk-based approach.”

The Directive mandates all member states must hold onto information in a central registry detailing the beneficial owners of corporate and other incorporated legal entities.

Estonia’s Rise In The Cryptocurrency World

The small Baltic nation has rapidly become a hub for crypto-related activities due to interest by lawmakers in adopting industry-friendly regulations. Many entities in the crypto world are also attracted to setting up shop in a European jurisdiction.

In mid-November, CryptoGlobe reported on the flurry of activity from government regulators who have reportedly issued more than 900 licenses to crypto and blockchain firms over the past year.

Law firm associate Nikolay Demchuk has also pointed out how governmental authorities have suggested it is an easy and simple process for those who are interested in getting approved to offer crypto-related services.

Additionally, the nation's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has been granting approvals at a fast clip, asking for 30 days to look over applications, but usually rubber-stamping approval for business in about two weeks.  

Through a press release, the B2BX exchange indicated they received approval for a regulatory license from the FIU in mid-November. The company said they applied due to Estonia’s reputation for innovation and openness to technology.