Estonia Revokes More than 1,000 Crypto Companies Licenses This Year

More than 1,000 cryptocurrency companies’ licenses have been revoked in Estonia this year as the country tightens oversight of the crypto industry amid heightened money laundering concerns.

1,000+ Crypto Companies lost their Licenses this year

The Estonian Finance Administration revealed on Friday that the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has revoked more than 1,000 crypto companies licenses this year. Estonia, once a Mecca for cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, began to worry about the money laundering risks in the crypto sector last year.

The announcement follows a meeting of the Government Anti-Money Laundering Commission where the issues surrounding the regulation of cryptocurrency service providers were discussed. Veiko Tali, secretary general of the Ministry of Finance serving as the deputy head of the commission, stressed that “monitoring and regulation” of crypto service providers “is in constant need of heightened attention.”

He explained that in 2019, many businesses had expressed interest in acquiring a license to operate cryptocurrency services and that a large number of licenses had subsequently been issued. However, the Estonian government’s “mode of scrutiny and intervention” in the crypto field was limited, he noted, adding that the amendments to Estonian law that came into effect this year tightened the licensing of crypto service providers.

The finance ministry announcement states:

In 2020, the Financial Intelligence Unit has withdrawn more than 1,000 virtual currency companies’ activity licenses. At the same time, there are about 400 companies operating in Estonia offering virtual currency services.

“Many of these companies have little connection with Estonia and some of the companies’ customers come from remote countries,” the announcement continues. In June, reported that 500 crypto companies had revoked their licenses.

Tali confirmed that the commission intends to focus on overseeing crypto next year, adding:

A number of important regulatory changes are being made for virtual money services to further regulate the field.

According to a survey conducted by the FIU this summer, Estonian-registered crypto service providers have the largest number of customers in the US, followed by Venezuela, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, India and Iran. According to the study, turnover generated by crypto service providers in the first half of 2019 totaled more than 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.46 billion), more than double the amount in the previous year.

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