Cryptocurrency licenses in Estonia: First-year overview

Almost one year has passed since the new Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (MLTFPA) came into force introducing two types of licenses for cryptocurrency in Estonia.
MLTFPA has helped businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies understand whether they are required to apply for a license or whether they can operate without one. MLTFPA replaced the previous vague definition of a provider of alternative means of payments, which included crypto business, with the following two:
  • providers of a service of exchanging a virtual currency against a fiat currency, i.e. crypto exchange; and
  • providers of a virtual currency wallet service, i.e. crypto wallet.
According to the Register of Economic Activities in Estonia, the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has issued about 500 licenses for providers of crypto exchange services and around 410 licenses for providers of crypto wallet services. Obtaining a cryptocurrency license is a relatively easy and fast process. The package of documents which are required to be submitted is minimal.

In addition, under the law, the FIU has 30 days to review the application. Based on our experience, crypto licenses are issued within 1-2 weeks if all the required documents are submitted and the FIU does not have additional questions.
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