Matis Mäeker, new head of the Estonian anti-money laundering (AML) bureau (Rahapesu Andmebüroo, RAB) proposes to revoke all effective cryptocurrency licenses and to strengthen requirements for new applicants.
"Estonia gets nothing out of it"
According to Mr. Mäeker's interview with local media outlet Eesti Ekspress, Estonia's "safe haven" status for cryptocurrency services poses too high risks for money laundering.
Anti-money laundering chief: Cryptocurrency licenses should be revoked#Estoniahttps://t.co/VfOO0jgK2S— ERR News (@errnews) October 13, 2021
Despite 2020's cull, more than 400 crypto-centric services are still operating in Estonia. Their turnover surpasses billions of dollars, while the Estonian economy gets nothing out of it, Mr. Mäeker admitted.
Thus, the entire system of licensing crypto-related activity should be rebuilt from scratch, while already effective licences should be revoked.
Also, Mr. Mäeker proposes to increase the share capital minimum required to register crypto-focused business in Estonia to the eye-watering level of €350,000. At press time, the "entry price" is as low as €12,000.
In 2020, Estonian authorities revoked thousands of licenses issused for crypto-centric, gambling and betting services due to high risks associated with their activity. Mostly, they did not target Estonian users, created zero jobs for Estonian citizens and paid minimum taxes.
Alongside Singapore and "old fashioned" offshores like Seychelles, Gibratar, Nassau, Belize and Curaçao, Estonia for years was the country of choice for incorporating crypto firms.
The majority of new crypto services in 2017-2018 were licensed in Estonia without having any ties to the Baltic state. In 2017, the "entry price" for the crypto firm was €1,500.