Getting a cryptocurrency license

Company in Estonia OÜ will be happy to offer assistance in getting a cryptocurrency license in Estonia.

From March 10, 2020, you can apply for a single cryptocurrency license and provide services for the storage and exchange of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency license prices:

Specialists of Company in Estonia OÜ will be glad to assist you in getting a cryptocurrency license. The assistance includes making the list of necessary documents, help in developing procedural rules of the company, translation of documents into Estonian and support throughout the licensing process.

“Crypto License in Estonia” package 9,900 EUR

“Crypto License in Estonia” package includes following:

Company registration in Estonia 1 000 EUR
Assistance in making company share capital contribution (12,000 EUR) 1,000 EUR
Bank account opening assistance for crypto company 1,000 EUR
Assistance in selecting and renting an office in Estonia 500 EUR
Assistance in submitting an application for crypto license, KYC/AML and procedural rules preparation 3,000 EUR
State fee for the single cryptocurrency license 3,300 EUR
Accounting services for cryptocurrency companies from 200 EUR per month

Estonia crypto license requirements and obligation

Cryptocurrency wallet services

Cryptocurrency wallets are digital offline and online tools based on public-key cryptography used to securely send and receive cryptocurrency over the network.

There are two types of wallets: cold (offline wallets – such as hardware wallets, paper wallets for cryptocurrency) and hot (online wallets) storage. The difference is that cold wallets store digital coins offline, without Internet access; while hot wallets are mainly used to store small amounts or store on a daily basis. Hot storage wallets include conventional and multicurrency wallets for cryptocurrency.

A single cryptocurrency license in Estonia allows to provide cryptocurrency wallet services for both cold and hot storage.

Services of exchanging a virtual currency for a virtual or fiat currency

A single cryptocurrency license in Estonia allows to exchange cryptocurrency for FIAT and cryptocurrency for cryptocurrency.

With crypto license in Estonia your company can provide crypto exchange services along with market leaders:

The IT jurisdiction of Estonia is considered as the mildest of its kind with facilitated conditions for obtaining a cryptocurrency exchange license for start-ups in the blockchain technology industry. In other words, a so-called crypto license is an official permission to conduct a regulated cryptocurrency business. Several new cryptocurrency and trading platforms are created every week, and a significant part of them had been licensed in Estonia, since the local order presupposes a quicker process of obtaining a crypto-license than, for example, in the jurisdictions of other countries. A team of experts from Company in Estonia OÜ will accompany your project through all the necessary procedures in the preparation of documents and obtaining the legal permission from the authorities to launch your crypto-business.

The National Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU, or Rahapesu Andmebüroo, RAB) is the local government institution responsible for granting a crypto-license in Estonia. For activities in the field of crypto services, in accordance with the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, is required a license called a single cryptocurrency license. Two different services fall into this category: a virtual currency wallet service provider and a virtual currency exchanger (see I and II). Previously, they required two different licenses, which are now merged into the Virtual Currency Service Provider License.

  1. Crypto-wallets and custodian services
    • The first category of services includes the generation and storage of encrypted customer keys.
  2. Crypto exchange
    • The second category of services is the cryptocurrency exchange for fiat money or vice versa, or cryptocurrency for another cryptocurrency.

Benefits of obtaining a crypto-license in Estonia

Hundreds of crypto-companies conduct their business from Estonia for a number of the following reasons that are undeniably profitable for doing business across Europe.

First, an Estonian crypto-company can benefit from fair and accurate regulation. The Estonian AML Act and related provisions establish rules that give the licensed company the ability to know what is permitted, what is prohibited, and in general how they must act to comply and remain in compliance with the law.

In addition, Estonia provides a favorable business environment. Almost all aspects of establishing and running an Estonian company are carried out completely online from anywhere in the world thanks to the e-Residency programme. According to the recent data it became clear that Estonian e-Residents from all over the world generate over 1 billion euros of economic activity through their Estonian companies.

In addition, there is no corporate tax in Estonia. Instead, only distributed profits are usually subject to 20% corporate income tax of 20/80 of the net profit distribution. In other words, under the Estonian taxation scheme, a company benefits from the opportunity to reinvest its profits tax-free.

Filing a cryptocurrency license application

The application for crypto license shall be filed by a Board member of the Estonian company.

The license application can be submitted electronically using an е-residency card, when you visit a notary in Tallinn or issue a power of attorney to a representative of the Company in Estonia OÜ, so that we can submit the application for you. The state fee for filing an application for the single cryptocurrency license is 3,300 EUR.

The fee shall be paid to the Estonian Ministry of Finance. The decision on issuing the license shall be made by the Anti-Money Laundering Data Office (an independent entity of the Police and Border Guard Department) within 60 business days after the date of application.

The license is open-ended.

To get the cryptocurrency license, the following data should be presented:

  • contact details of the business owner (phone number, e-mail and mailing address), a CV;
  • address of the provision of services and web page address;
  • name and contact details of the person responsible for the offer;
  • name, personal code (if not available – date of birth), place of birth and residence address of the real beneficiary of the company;
  • procedural rules and internal control regulations developed according to Articles 29 and 30 of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, and in case of persons with special responsibilities specified in Article 6 of the International Sanctions Act, procedural rules developed according to Section 6 of the International Sanctions Act, and the procedure for verifying their implementation;
  • name, personal code (if not available – date of birth), place of birth, citizenship, residence address, position and contact details of the contact person specified in Part 3, Article 29 or Part 4, Article 29 of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act;
  • name, personal code (if not available – date of birth), place of birth, citizenship, residence address, position and contact details of the person responsible for applying international financial sanctions, as determined by the business owner according to Part 9, Article 13;
  • if the business owner, the Board member, the procurator, the real beneficiary or the proprietor is a citizen of a foreign country or if the business owner is a foreign person offering services, it is necessary to submit a statement from the penalty register in one’s country of origin or an equivalent document issued by a judicial or administrative authority confirming the absence of penalties for crimes committed against government authorities, money laundering crimes or another deliberate crimes no earlier than three months ago and certified by a notary or in another similar way and legalised or approved by the certificate replacing legalisation (Apostille), unless otherwise provided by an international treaty.

New regulations for crypto companies in Estonia

In accordance with the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, amendments have been made to establish stricter boundaries for companies applying for an Estonian crypto-license.

  • Among such amendments, the minimum share capital of a crypto-company was increased from 2,500 EUR to 12,000 EUR, and now its full payment before applying for a crypto-license is mandatory. This amount can then be used to finance the future activities of the company.
  • It has also changed that an IBAN account is now required before submitting an application. Estonian banks do not accept applications for opening a bank account from crypto-companies, but it is also true that an Estonian has the right to open an account with the European Electronic Money Institution.
  • One of the major novelties was the fact that from now on the Board and place of business must be located in Estonia. Also, the presence of a company director of an Estonian citizenship has become mandatory.
  • The requirements for KYC/AML officers have significantly toughened. After applying for a crypto-license, the KYC/AML officer will have to undergo an interview with the FIU to confirm their skills and suitability for the position.
  • Apart from that, the state fee payable to the Estonian government has been increased from 345 EUR to an investment of 3,300 EUR.

FAQ

  • Are there still two separate licenses for crypto-business in Estonia?
    • No. In accordance with the new regulatory framework, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is granting a license called Virtual Currency Service Provider, which has consolidated the previous forms of licenses into one.
  • How long does it take to obtain a license?
    • FIU notifies its decision to issue a license within 60 working days, but if necessary, this period can be extended up to 120 days.
  • Can non-residents of Estonia own a crypto-company?
    • Yes, non-residents of Estonia can be 100% owners of an Estonian crypto-company.
  • Can non-residents of Estonia be the Board of an Estonian crypto-company?
    • According to the new law, at least one of the members of the Management Board must be a resident of Estonia. The company’s Management Board must be located in Estonia.
  • Is a bank account required to obtain/maintain a license?
    • A company that applies for a crypto-license must have an account with a financial institution (IBAN) registered in Estonia.
  • What is the minimum share capital for a virtual currency service provider?
    • The minimum share capital is 12,000 EUR. The share capital must be paid in full prior to filing the application.

Requirements for the requesting company

  • The company applying for a license must have paid a share capital (12,000 EUR);
  • The company applying for a license must have an office in Estonia;
  • The company applying for a license must have a representative in Estonia (one of the Board members).

More information regarding rules, money laundering and terrorist financing prevention can be found HERE.

Contribution of share capital

According to §136 of the Estonian Commercial Code, “the share capital of a company must be denominated in euros”. Accordingly, the authorised capital of a crypto-company cannot be denominated in cryptocurrency.

The share capital is paid in cash or by bank transfer. The members of the Board of the company make a contribution in the amount corresponding to their share in the share capital. The payment is made from the bank account of the member of the Board to the bank account of the company.

The deposited amount on the corporate account can now be used for any commercial activity of your business. Thus, the share capital can be used to invest, pay the company’s suppliers, or even offer loans. However, it should be noted that dividends can be paid exclusively from the profits of your company.

AML specialist interview with FIU (Financial Intelligence Unit)

In accordance with the new policy regarding the licensing process for crypto-activities, the FIU may invite a KYC/AML specialist for a personal meeting prior to issuing a license. The purpose of this interview is to confirm that the contact person is familiar with the AML procedure rules and the relevant Estonian laws in case of suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing. If the KYC/AML officer is not part of the company structure, it is necessary to provide documents confirming the employment relations between the company and this person. Failure to comply with this requirement will be grounds for refusal of issuing the license.

There is a 60-day period to turn up for an interview with the FIU. The final decision on the licensing of the company is published after a two-hour meeting. Please note that the interview is conducted in Estonian and an experienced translator may be required to accompany it. If the client does not comply with this clause within the specified timeframe, the crypto-company license application will be automatically annulled.

In addition, the FIU also revokes a license if:

  • the undertaking repeatedly fails to comply with the FIU regulations;
  • the undertaking has not been commercially active in the field within 6 months from the date of the license.

Company in Estonia OÜ offers a wide range of additional services, such as assistance in the selection and rental of an office; assistance in making company share capital contribution; assistance in recruiting a local company director, signing a working contract; training of the company director for KYC/AML requirements; as well as KYC/AML officer services. An individual customer approach is vital for us. We take care of your business needs, combining both personalised order processing and professional consulting, reasonable rates, and company registration services for clients from all over the world. In addition, Company in Estonia OÜ provides continuous support to entrepreneurs in accordance with the latest updates in Estonian legislation.

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