This year, the Estonian authorities revoked the licenses of more than 1,000 cryptocurrency firms amid tighter supervision of the cryptocurrency industry and the fight against money laundering.
The Estonian Ministry of Finance reported that since the beginning of the year, the Financial Intelligence Agency has revoked the licenses of more than 1,000 cryptocurrency companies. The statement followed a meeting of the State Commission on Combating Money Laundering, which discussed issues related to the regulation of cryptocurrency service providers.
The deputy head of the commission, Veiko Tali, stressed that the” monitoring and regulation “of cryptocurrency service operators” constantly needs increased attention.” He explained that in 2019, many companies showed interest in obtaining a license to work with cryptocurrency services, and subsequently a large number of licenses were issued.
However, the Estonian government’s” means of control and intervention ” in the field of cryptocurrencies were limited, and amendments to Estonian legislation that came into force this year tightened the licensing of operators of cryptocurrency services. According to the statement of the Ministry of Finance:
“In 2020, the Financial Intelligence Agency revoked more than 1,000 operating licenses from companies dealing in crypto assets. At the same time, there are still about 400 companies in Estonia offering services in this area. The connection of many of these companies to Estonia is minimal, and the clientele of some companies is from remote countries.”
Tali confirmed that the commission plans to focus on overseeing the cryptocurrency industry next year, adding:
“A number of important regulatory changes are planned for cryptocurrency services in order to further regulate this area.”
According to a survey conducted by the Financial Intelligence Agency this summer, Estonian-registered cryptocurrency service providers have the largest number of customers in the United States, followed by Venezuela, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, India and Iran. According to the study, the turnover of cryptocurrency service providers in the first half of 2019 amounted to more than €1.2 billion – twice as much as a year earlier.
Recall that in May, the Estonian government approved a
bill initiated by the Ministry of Finance to tighten the requirements for issuing licenses to cryptocurrency companies.