- A legal entity registered in Estonia;
- Drafting the company's procedural rules, a document describing the internal control system to ensure compliance with EU AML / CFT control requirements and international sanctions; This document is the main tool of the company aimed at fulfilling the criteria and rules established by law. As part of the review of a license application, this document is of key importance.
- Drawing up rules of action in the event of the entry into force of international sanctions; This document regulates the actions of the company in case the client is or is associated with a person who is under international sanctions.
- Preparation of an application for a license;
- Submission of the entire package of necessary documents to the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Republic of Estonia;
- Legal address, for 1 year;
- Contact person, for 1 year;
- 3300 euro state. duty.
Regulation of the cryptocurrency market in Estonia:
The license for activities as a financial institution in the field of alternative means of payment is issued by the Financial Intelligence unit. Data on the obtained license is publicly available in the electronic version of the Register of Economic Activities of Estonia, including the assigned license number and the person responsible for complying with the company criteria and rules established by law.
The main legal act regulating operations with cryptocurrency (tokens) is the Law on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism.
The main regulatory bodies are the Anti-Money Laundering Bureau and the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority.
A company licensed by a financial institution to work with alternative means of payment must comply with the statutory conditions for the identification of customers and cooperation with regulatory authorities.
The Financial Supervision Authority, although it does not issue a license, has the right to make an order for companies to introduce methods for controlling transactions and identifying customers if it considers it necessary to minimize the risks of money laundering.
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As you already know, legislative changes have been adopted that regulate the scope of operations with cryptocurrencies. The main goal of these changes is to establish higher requirements for market participants, as well as to increase the threshold for entering the market.
In other words, the stake is placed on larger players with significant financial resources and developed infrastructure. Those companies that do not meet the new requirements will actually be forced to leave the market. Given that less than 4 months have been allocated to bring standards into line with the law.
A bit of history
First of all, I would like to note that from the very beginning the license was more a work permit than a license in its usual sense. There were no special financial, legal, technical or qualification requirements that the company would have to fulfill. It is necessary to prepare Internal Rules, designate a contact person, provide some general documents and, in principle, a license has been obtained.
As a result, by December 2019, more than 800 (eight hundred) companies received a license for operations with cryptocurrencies. Given the specifics of the cryptocurrency market - this number seemed too high. And all the corresponding risks of fraud and violation of the law were just as high.
Therefore, it is expected that the Estonian government began to act in order to bring the market in order and under control. This is the main idea of legislative amendments.
Earlier, we also reported that the state agency - the Bureau of Money Laundering Data (Bureau) - sent an official request to all companies that had a license for operations with cryptocurrencies. In this request, the company was asked to fill out some statistics and indicate whether the company began to operate or not. And despite the fact that (and this was especially emphasized), the request was made only for statistical and informational purposes - the companies that provided notifications of the absence of activity lost their licenses. There were about 250 such companies.
It logically follows from this that the main goal of the legislator was to reduce the number of companies licensed to operate with virtual currencies. Moreover, to make the cryptocurrency market accessible only to companies with significant resources and the ability to conduct stable activities for a long time. And it is worth recognizing that these are quite reasonable actions of the legislator.
Now let's look at what further steps are available in this situation.
If you are a company that independently has significant resources and is capable of transferring a certain part of its activities to Estonia, in this case the above measures will not affect you much. Of course, you will need to take some additional measures: develop internal documentation, rent an office in Estonia, hire a member of the board with Estonian residency, and contribute a registered capital of at least 12,000 EUR. And it looks like the everyday activities of any company, and there is nothing much complicated to use. In addition, our company provides all the necessary services with more than a reasonable budget.
A completely different issue is when you do not have the necessary financial resources and you are not quite ready to do business in Estonia. In this case, you are the “target audience” and amendments to the law have just been made to prevent further activities of the company in the cryptocurrency market. Now you need to make a difficult choice: either stop this line of business and lose your invested money and efforts, or try to find a reasonable solution how to continue working in this industry.
Time is changing, and we are changing with it - says one Latin proverb. And this is exactly the situation that is happening now in the business with virtual values. This industry has become a much more significant part of social relations and the government treats it accordingly.
That is why, we strongly recommend taking the situation seriously and refrain from any unreasonable actions. It makes no sense to try to formally comply with the law without actually applying its rules. And although now it may seem the simplest alternative solution - there is no future in such an “alternative”. This will only lead to a waste of time, energy and resources.
Thus, when deciding on subsequent actions in the cryptocurrency business, you need to understand the existing reality and trends of the industry. And your decision should be based on this. Activities in the field of cryptocurrencies will be regulated more and more seriously, and this reality will have to deal with.
Our company has developed a set of measures to apply the changes in the most correct way and at the lowest cost. In case of interest, we will be happy to advise in detail on all the nuances of work and develop a project in accordance with the features of your business model.
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