Cryptocurrency Licence in Estonia

CRYPTOCURRENCY LICENCE IN ESTONIA

Today, Estonia is the unqualified leader among European countries in the number of cryptocurrency licences issued.

The National Financial Intelligence Unit (Rahapesu Andmebüroo or RAB) is the regulator responsible for granting a crypto license in Estonia. For activities which are now merged into a single Virtual Currency Service Provider License.

The Act on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism requires a license called single cryptocurrency license. Two different services fall into this category: to work as a service provider of a virtual currency purse and as a virtual currency exchanger. Previously (until 10 March 2020) Two different licenses in Estonia:

  • Management of crypto-wallets and caste services
  • Cryptocurrency exchange services for fictitious money or vice versa, or
    cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency.

 

General provisions

Cryptocurrency purses are digital offline and online methods that rely on public-key crypto licence to allow users to send and receive cryptocurrencies safely through the Internet.

There are two types of purses: cold (offline – for example, a hardware purse, a paper purse for a cryptocurrency) and hot (online) storage. The difference is that the former keep digital coins offline, without access to the Internet. Hot wallets are mostly used for small-scale storage or for everyday use. Among the purses for hot storage are ordinary and multi-currency purses for cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency license in Estonia allows to provide the service of the cryptocurrency purse both cold and hot storage.

The cryptocurrency license in Estonia also allows the exchange of cryptocurrency for FIAT and cryptocurrency for cryptocurrency.

Licensing process

An application for a cryptocurrency licence in Estonia may be made by a member of the board of the company. An application for a licence may be submitted electronically if an e-resident card is available when visiting a notary in Tallinn. The State fee for a license application is EUR 3,300. The fee must be paid to the Estonian Ministry of Finance. The Money Laundering Data Office (a separate entity within the Police and Border Police Department) decides on the issue of a licence within 60 working days of the application. A crypto license is issued for an indefinite period.

In order to get a license, the following data must be submitted:

  1. Business contacts (telephone number, e-mail address and postal address), CV;
  2. The address of the place where services are offered, including the address of the web page;
  3. Name and contact details of the person responsible for the proposal;
  4. The name, personal code (if no date of birth), place of birth and address of residence of the real beneficiary of the company;
  5. Procedural and internal control rules established pursuant to articles 29 and 30 of the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, and in the case of persons with special duties listed in section 6 of the International Sanctions Act, the procedural rules established under section 13 of part 6 of the International Sanctions Act and the procedure for verifying their implementation;
  6. Name, personal code (if not date of birth), place of birth, nationality address of residence, position and contact details of the contact person mentioned in the Article 29 of Part 3 or Part 4, Article 29 of the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism;
  7. Name, personal code (if not date of birth), place of birth, nationality, address of residence, position and contact details of the person responsible for applying the international financial sanctions established by the entrepreneur in accordance with article 13.9;
  8. If the entrepreneur, board member, proxy, real beneficiary or owner is a citizen of a foreign State or if the entrepreneur is a foreign person, A certificate from the Register of Penalties of his country of origin or an equivalent document issued by a judicial or administrative authority confirming the absence of punishment for a crime against public authority, Money-laundering offences or other intentional offences committed within three months of the date of their issuance, which have been certified by a notary or other equivalent and have been legalized or approved by a substitute certificate for legalization (apostille) unless otherwise implied by the treaty.

Requirements for the company

In connection with the Law on the Suppression of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism in 2020, some amendments were made to Estonian legislation introducing stricter requirements for companies applying for a crypto licence in Estonia:

  • The minimum authorized capital of the cryptocurrency company is 12,000 euros. It must be paid in full before filing an application. This amount can then be used to finance the company’s business activities.
  • The state fee is 3,300 euros.
  • The company requires a corporate account (IBAN) before submitting an application.
    Estonian banks do not accept applications to open a bank account for cryptocurrency companies, however, companies have the right to open an account in the payment systems of those entitled to operate in Estonia.
  • The management and the place of activity of the company should be in Estonia.
  • The company applying for a licence must have a legal address in Estonia.
  • The presence of the director of the company who is an Estonian citizen is
  • Upon application, the KYC / AML employee will have to be interviewed by the RAB to
    confirm his qualifications and suitability for the position.

Currently, according to information received from RAB, there are about 400 companies licensed to provide virtual currency services in Estonia.

Companies offering licensing services in Estonia

A legal company that can accompany in obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Estonia.

Taxation of cryptocurrency companies in Estonia

There is no special tax on cryptocurrency in Estonia. Crypto-activities are subject to the same rules as other activities in Estonia.

The corporate tax in Estonia is 0%. The dividend tax rate is 25%. In order to pay dividends to a member of the board, it is necessary to draw up a report on profits for the current period.

The VAT rate in Estonia is 20%. Companies are obliged to register as a VAT taxpayer if sales in Estonia exceed 40,000 euros from the beginning of the calendar year. The company can also apply for VAT registration before reaching the threshold.

Requirements for Estonian cryptocurrency companies in 2022

In October 2021, Matis Mäeker, head of the Money Laundering Bureau (RAB), proposed that the licensing system for cryptocurrency companies in Estonia should be reviewed.

According to proposals from Matis Mäeker, the equity of crypto-companies should be increased to 350,000 euros, and the company should have this money in the form of cash or low-risk securities. Also, the structure of the cryptocurrency company should consist of at least two people and the management of the company (shareholder, director) cannot hold the position of KYC/AML officer – this position must be separated from the direct management of the company to avoid a conflict of interest.

Other RAB recommendations include requiring companies operating in this sector to have safer IT systems and, for example, to use cash for investments rather than refinancing clients’ funds.

Mäeker estimates the turnover of Estonian cryptocurrency companies at more than 20 billion euros per year.

In fact, the FIU had already revoked 1,808 cryptocurrency licenses in 2020, but in September 2020, a risk assessment conducted by the agency showed that the changes made so far were not sufficient to reduce rapidly growing risks.

Changes in Estonian legislation (15.03.2022) – updated requirements for crypto-currency companies.

1) Equity of virtual currency service provider

The authorized capital of the virtual currency service provider should be:

  • at least EUR 100,000 if the virtual currency service provider provides a virtual currency exchange service (a service in which a person exchanges virtual currency for money or money for virtual currency or one virtual currency for another)
  • at least 250,000 euros if the virtual currency service provider provides a virtual currency translation service (a service that allows you to make a transaction at least partially electronically through a virtual currency provider on behalf of the initiator in order to transfer the virtual currency to a virtual currency wallet or recipient account)

When establishing a company for a virtual currency service provider, the payment of the authorized capital of the company can only be money.

2) Prerequisites for customer identification and verification
The service provider should use technology with a high level of reliability in identifying and verifying identity through information technology tools, which provide the true identity and prevent the alteration or misuse of the transmitted data.

In the identification and verification of identity by means of information technology, the natural person referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 31 of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism or the legal representative of the legal entity shall use a document Digital identification or other electronic identification system with a high level of security issued under the Identity Documents Act, is included in the list published in the Official Journal of the European Union in accordance with Article 9 of the Regulation (EC) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council on Trust Services required for Electronic Identification and Electronic Transactions, repealing Directive 1999/93/EC (OJ L 257, 28.08.2014, pp. 73-114), and an information technology tool with a functioning camera, microphone and hardware and software,necessary for digital identification and Internet connectivity of sufficient quality
In identifying and verifying identity, the service provider can use an information technology tool to compare biometric data.

When performing an exchange and transfer transaction, the virtual currency service provider of the originator of the transaction shall establish the identity of each customer in accordance with the provisions of articles 21 and 22 of this Law and shall collect at least the following information concerning the originator of the transaction:
1) in the case of a natural person, name, unique transaction identifier, payment account or virtual currency wallet identifier, name and number of identity document, as well as personal identification code or date of birth, place of birth and address of residence;

When performing a transaction for exchange and transfer of virtual currency, the virtual currency service provider collects unique identification data of the transaction about the recipient of virtual currency or transfer, as well as data of the payment account identifier or virtual currency wallet, if payment account data or virtual currency wallet identifier is used for the transaction.

3) Virtual Currency Provider Business Plan
The business plan of the virtual currency provider is submitted for at least two years.

4) Requirements for the virtual currency provider’s own funds

The Virtual Currency Provider’s own funds should correspond to one of the following sizes at any given time, whichever is larger:

  1. Size of the authorised capital
  2. The amount of own funds calculated according to the calculation method:

If the virtual currency service provider provides the service specified in paragraphs 101 or 102 of part 3 of this Law, the provider’s own funds of the virtual currency service provider shall be at least equal to the sum of the following parts of the volume:

  1. 4 per cent of the part of transactions made in the provision of the service that is up to or equal to 5 million euros;
  2. 2.5 per cent of the share of transactions made in the provision of services, which is more than 5 million euros, but does not exceed 10 million euros;
  3. 1 per cent of the share of transactions carried out in the provision of the service, which is more than EUR 10 million but does not exceed EUR 100 million;
  4. 0.5 per cent of the share of transactions carried out in the provision of the service, which is more than 100 million euros, but does not exceed 250 million euros;
  5. 0.25 per cent of the share of transactions made within the service, which is more than 250 million euros.

The share of transactions performed as a service specified in Part 6 of this Article shall be calculated on the basis of one twelfth of the total amount of transactions performed as services specified in Parts 101 and 102 of Article 3 of this Law for the previous year. A venture capital provider that has been in operation for less than 12 months in the previous year should split the amount of remittance and exchange transactions made in the previous year by the number of months in operation in the previous year to obtain the corresponding figure.
The virtual currency service provider is required to implement measures to ensure that its own funds can be calculated with sufficient accuracy at any time.
The Financial Intelligence Unit may establish a period of time within which the virtual currency service provider must bring its own funds into compliance with the requirements established by this Law and the legal acts issued on its basis.

5) Audit of virtual currency provider

Auditing of the virtual currency service provider’s annual reports is mandatory. The auditor’s data must be specified when applying for a license.

Requirements for location, location, board members and contact person of the virtual currency provider
The member of the board of the virtual currency service provider must have higher education and professional experience of at least two years.
A member of the management board of a virtual currency service provider may not hold the position of a member of the management board of more than two virtual currency service providers.

State fee for application for crypto-currency license increased from EUR 3,300 to EUR 10,000

Cost of cryptocurrency license

Our specialists will be glad to assist you in getting a cryptocurrency license. The assistance includes making the list of necessary documents, help in developing procedural rules of the company, translation of documents into Estonian and support throughout the licensing process.

PACKAGE «COMPANY & CRYPTO LICENSE IN ESTONIA»

29,900 EUR
PACKAGE «COMPANY & CRYPTO-LICENSE IN ESTONIA» INCLUDES:
  • Company registration in Estonia
  • Review of the business model and the structure of the Cryptocurrency Company
  • Assistance in making company share capital contribution
  • Bank account opening assistance for crypto-company
  • Assistance in selecting and renting an office in Estonia
  • Risk assessment, KYC/AML and procedural rules preparation
  • State fee for the single cryptocurrency license
  • Drawing up a business plan for two years
  • Assistance in director employment/KYC/AML officer
  • Preparation of legal company documents
  • General counselling (5 hours)

our team

julia

Julia
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jekaterina

Jekaterina
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jekaterina

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vasilina cryptocurrency Estonia

Vasilina
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kristine

Kristine
Ella

svetlana cryptocurrency Lithuania

Svetlana
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CONTACT US

At the moment, the main services of our company are legal and compliance solutions for FinTech projects. Our offices are located in Tallinn, Vilnius, and Warsaw. The legal team can assist with legal analysis, project structuring, and legal regulation.

Company in Estonia OÜ

Registration number: 14153440
Licence number: FIU000186
Phone: + 372 5683 0881
Email: [email protected]
Address: Sepise 1, Tallinn, 11415, Estonia

Company in Lithuania UAB

Registration number: 304377400
Phone: +370 669 55747
Email: [email protected]
Address: Lvovo g. 25, 7th floor, Vilnius, 09320, Lithuania

IT Expert Consultancy Sp. z o.o

Registration number: 38421992700000
Phone: +485 7358 1016
Email: [email protected]
Address: Twarda 18, 15th floor, Warszawa, 00-824, Poland

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