Estonia Cryptocurrency License – Overview of the Top Cryptolicense

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Anyone interested in entrepreneurship and cryptocurrencies already knows the one country that is always named when talking about crypto-businesses: Estonia.

The North-European country, whose population and size are comparable to the State of Maine, has successfully made the crypto world pin it on their map.

The Estonia cryptocurrency license was early. It was the first one to be white-labeled. It was the first one to get enough feedback to evolve, after 3 years of running the framework. Estonia hosts hundreds of cryptocurrency companies and is considered the benchmark of the cryptocurrency world.

Back in 2017, your company could get an e-wallet license or a cryptocurrency trading license in Estonia, or both.

In 2020, the innovating Estonian regulators blended the two into a single blockchain license. Estonia wanted a stronger framework after money laundering scandals in a domestic bank.

Following up on the FATF recommendation, the updated framework put an emphasis on AML-KYC.

Is the Estonian cryptocurrency license still interesting in 2022?

With the emergence of new licenses and the openness to crypto-related businesses in many countries at once, is the Estonian license still a good opportunity?

We are observing a division on the “market” of regulations. As new ventures pop up from all over the world, with very different business models, increasingly touching on the matters of DeFi and NFTs, the regulatory side is not one-sided anymore as well.

The Estonian framework was designed to monitor and legitimize the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies, as well as the custody. It is, therefore, best suited for centralized exchange, but can fit other kinds of services as well.

The white-label nature of the framework brings a considerable benefit: as it is straightforward and replicable, the licensing fee and the operation-related costs are relatively low.

Whatever your business model, Estonia most likely will show up as one of the best three options for registering your crypto company.

How does one get the cryptolicense in Estonia, without ever going to Estonia?

As long as you cooperate and agree to set a substance in Estonia, you will never be required to visit the country. Estonia, before even becoming renowned as a crypto-friendly place, has set most of its services online.

For a business owner, this means doing tax, editing the company, and signing official documents from your computer, wherever in the world.

But note this: you have to set some substance in the country. This means, concretely speaking, that to get the cryptocurrency license for your Estonian company, you need to rent or own physical space in the country.

A local director should be appointed, which is the opportunity for the remote entrepreneur to have a brain and a pair of hands on site.

Finally, as per the FATF recommendations, any crypto company in Estonia has to appoint an AML officer, whose job is to ensure compliance with KYC processes and to report suspicious transactions.

This requirement for substance is a bit of additional work and comes with the cost of rent and employment. These added measures in 2020 have barred the road to the least wealthy crypto entrepreneurs, who are now looking into other places for establishment.

What is the process to get the Estonian cryptocurrency license?

The license is only granted to companies registered in Estonia, so this is square number one. With the IT infrastructure described above, it is possible to register a company in Estonia from anywhere in the world, given you can provide documents proving your identity.

Once the company is set, it’s about time to set the substance that we talked about in the previous part of this article: premises and local workers.

Substance is also about financial subsistence, and the Estonian law requires you to deposit EUR 12,000 in a bank account located in the European Union.

The upside is that this money can be used for business once the license has been granted. It’s not locked in.

Afterward, an application for a license has to be completed and sent to the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit.

Having a clear and striking business plan is often helpful in getting your project green-lighted effectively. Be prepared to demonstrate your AML-KYC procedures and policies as well, it can make or break the success of the licensing process.

Saving time, energy and possibly money on the licensing process — a few tips

The best thing you can do is to acknowledge the requirements and to be prepared. You will be interrogated about the people involved so prepare notarized passports and a resume of all your team.

You will need to set the substance in Estonia and demonstrate your ability in applying the AML and KYC rules.

Experience shows that the whole process is much simpler and free of mistakes when conducted with the assistance of a licensed corporate service provider, such as LegalBison, and its 100% success rate in setting cryptocurrency licensed companies in Estonia.

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