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Established in 2014.
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How to Get An Estonian Cryptocurrency Exchange License

Rosemary Barnes
Although many companies have opted for a Malta crypto exchange license, with the country having established itself as a prime fintech hub for more than a decade, Estonia is also a very popular choice as it is one of the most advanced countries both in Europe and the world from a technological perspective. Its digital transformation started in 2008 as blockchain technology evolved. Since this time, Estonia has advanced at full-speed, permitting foreigners to open companies remotely and access governmental services from a distance. Estonia continues its development of blockchain technology by allowing both local and foreign investors to set up various types of companies related to cryptocurrency trading. It is the first country in the European Union to provide for activities related to the issuance and trade of digital tokens undertaken by companies. The following information provides assistance for companies wishing to find out how to obtain crypto licenses in Estonia.

Legislation on Cryptocurrency in Estonia

In 2014, the Tax and Customs Board of Estonia published a document called Taxation of Trade in Bitcoins relating to bitcoins in Estonia which acknowledged bitcoin as a decentralised virtual currency. As a result, all persons and companies undertaking bitcoin transactions, have to be registered as providers of business services. In 2017, the government of Estonia also updated the law relating to anti-money laundering, introducing improved regulations governing the operations of cryptocurrency companies. These include clearer definitions as to the use of cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency wallets, types of licences available and the obligation of obtaining authorisation from the Financial Intelligence Unit Estonia. The new regulations imposed on cryptocurrency companies in Estonia do not impose any restrictions for these companies to operate outside the country although they do need to comply with the legislation in the country where they will offer their services.

Licencing Requirements for Cryptocurrency Companies in Estonia

Companies wanting to apply for an Estonia cryptocurrency licence should be aware that there are two types of cryptocurrency licences that cryptocurrency companies can obtain. A cryptocurrency exchange service provider licence allows a company to provide exchange services to those interested in trading cryptocurrencies against fiat currencies or other cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency wallet service provider licence, meanwhile, is issued to companies who wish to offer e-wallets or virtual token wallets. Other kinds of cryptocurrency businesses, such as those involved in mining activities, can also be established in Estonia but unless they are involved in trading activities where a cryptocurrency broker licence is required, no special licence is necessary.

How to Get a Cryptocurrency Licence in Estonia

In order to carry out a Cryptocurrency Company Formation, you will need to register your business in Estonia first by choosing a company name which will be subsequently verified for availability. The company must then be registered with the Commercial Register and with the VAT authorities. An application for either of the licences must then be filed with the Financial Supervisory Authority through the Financial Intelligence Unit Estonia. Amongst the documents that need to be submitted are the company’s Certificate of Incorporation, together with KYC and risk assessment documentation. The applications are reviewed by the Intelligence Unit which takes up to 30 days after which time, the company can commence its activities. It usually takes about two weeks for a cryptocurrency licence to be issued and it should be noted that a company must start its operations within 6 months of the date that the licence was issued.

Reasons for Starting a Cryptocurrency Company in Estonia

It’s easy to see why Estonia has earned a reputation as being one of the most secure places in the world to invest in cryptocurrency and that having an Estonia crypto licence is a prestigious accolade. The country’s commercial legislation encourages investors to set up companies by providing the straightforward registration procedure described, together with a transparent taxation system. With its enthusiastic market and government which supports cryptocurrency initiatives, Estonia is a big attraction to companies setting up business. As one of the European countries where cryptocurrency is strictly regulated, establishing a cryptocurrency company in Estonia is not only a safe option for your company, it also provides your clients with the reassurance that your company falls under the auspices of a world-renowned jurisdiction.
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