Over 1,000 cryptocurrency firms’ licenses have been revoked in Estonia this year as the country tightens the oversight of the crypto industry amid heightened money-laundering concerns.
1,000+ Crypto Firms Lost Their Licenses This Year
The Estonian Ministry of Finance revealed 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, started worrying about the money-laundering risks in the crypto sector last year.
The announcement follows the meeting of the Government Anti-Money Laundering Commission where the issues surrounding the regulation of cryptocurrency service providers were discussed. 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In 2020, the Financial Intelligence Unit has withdrawn more than 1,000 activity licenses of virtual currency companies.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,” the announcement continues. In June, news.Bitcoin.com reported that 500 crypto firms got their licenses revoked.
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.
According to a survey conducted by the FIU this summer, Estonia-registered crypto service providers have the largest number of customers in the U.S., followed by Venezuela, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, India, and Iran. According to the study, the turnover generated by crypto service providers in the first half of 2019 totaled more than 1.2 billion euros ($1.46 billion), which more than doubled the amount in the previous year.
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