Estonia withdrew over 1,000 crypto firms’ licenses this year. On Friday, the Estonian Ministry of Finance announced that the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has withdrawn more than 1,000 crypto companies’ licences this year. Estonia, once a mecca for cryptocurrency developers, began to worry about money-laundering risks in the crypto sector last year.
The announcement follows a meeting of the Government Anti-Money Laundering Commission to address topics related to the regulation of cryptocurrency service providers. Veiko Tali, the secretary-general of the Ministry of Finance who serves as the deputy head of the commission, stressed that “the monitoring and regulation” of crypto service providers are “in continuous need for heightened attention.”
He explained that in 2019, many businesses expressed interest in acquiring a license to operate cryptocurrency services and a large number of licenses were subsequently issued. However, the Estonian government’s “means for scrutiny and intervention” in the crypto field were limited, he noted, adding that the amendments to the Estonian law which came into force this year have tightened the licensing of crypto service providers.
The finance ministry’s announcement states “In 2020, the Financial Intelligence Unit has withdrawn more than 1,000 activity licenses of virtual currency companies. At the same time, there are still about 400 companies active in Estonia that offer virtual currency services. The connection of many of these companies to Estonia is minimal and the clientele of some of the companies is from remote countries.”
Tali confirmed that the commission plans to focus on crypto oversight next year, elaborating “A number of important regulatory changes are planned for the services of virtual currencies in order to further regulate the field.”
[image: Ilya Orehov]