Estonian financial intelligence: cryptocurrency exchanges need to reissue licenses

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Mathis Mäeker gave an interview in which he urged the state to revoke licenses from companies working with cryptocurrencies and re-issue them, but with stricter requirements.

Matis Mäeker, Head of the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit
gave an interview Eesti Ekspress. In it, he called on the state to “stop the regulatory process and start licensing crypto-exchanges anew.” He argues that society is unaware of all the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. The main ones are money laundering, terrorist financing, industry vulnerability to hacks.

There are now about 400 companies in Estonia that are licensed as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP). This is more than the total number of licenses issued in the entire European Union. According to Mäeker, the Estonian crypto industry does not create additional jobs in the country and does not generate any profit for the economy.

He proposed to introduce stricter requirements for the industry. For example, to oblige crypto companies to have at least € 350,000 in accounts or securities. The current capital requirement for industry startups is now € 12,000. To improve the security of the payment infrastructure, he proposed accepting only fiat money as investments.

More than 1,000 licenses were already revoked from cryptocurrency companies in Estonia last year. The mass registration of cryptocurrency companies in Estonia began in 2017, when the E-residency program of “electronic citizenship” was launched, and the Central Bank of Estonia almost issued its own digital currency, but was stopped by threats of sanctions from the ECB.

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