Establishment of a cryptocurrency company in Estonia
(as amended on 10.02.2020)*
NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REGISTRATION OF A CRYPTOCURRENCY COMPANY
- 1/ Criminal record certificates for all participating persons/companies for citizens of all countries;
- 2/ Copies of passports of all participating persons for citizens of all countries;
- 3/ Share capital of at least EUR 12,000;
- 4/ Physical presence in Estonia (office);
- 5/ The Board of Directors consists entirely of Estonian citizens:
- 5.1/ The board member and the compliance officer must hold a residence permit in Estonia
- 5.2/ The compliance Officer must prove an impeccable business reputation, i.e. provide supporting documents related to education, skills, and reputation;
- 5.3/ The Board must have a good business reputation.
- 7/ Existing bank account / PSP account in a country of the European Economic Area that provides cross-border services in Estonia or whose provider has a branch in Estonia;
- 8/ A list of payment accounts stored in the name of the company, together with a unique number for each payment account and the name of the account manager;
* Companies that currently hold a license or are in the process of obtaining a license must meet the new requirements mentioned above by July 1, 2020.
Once we have received all the initial information from you, it usually takes about 1-2 days to start a company.
If you want to start a company remotely (without visiting Estonia) - it usually takes 2-3 weeks of extra time and requires additional costs.
If you choose a ready-made company, it is already established and ready to be transferred to you.
After registering the company and receiving from you all the necessary information and documents mentioned above, we can perform the rest of the work and apply for a license.
To register a company in your name, you will need to visit Estonia for 1 day. On this day, we give you the company's shares and membership in the Board of Directors. The changes will be visible in the registry in a few days (maximum 1 week).
VIRTUAL CURRENCY PROVIDER LICENSE
An application for a crypto license is processed by a division of the Financial Supervision Authority (FIU) by granting or rejecting a license to operate within 60 business days from the date of application.
Companies that work with virtual currencies can apply for one license, which has two subcategories:
1/ providers of virtual currency to Fiat currency exchange services
This allows you to exchange fiat for crypto, crypto for fiat, crypto for crypto.
2/ Virtual currency wallet service providers
It is a service that generates client keys or stores clients' encrypted keys that can be used to store and transfer virtual currencies.
SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION
The application for the above-mentioned license must be made through a company registered in Estonia or through a registered branch of a foreign company in Estonia. As a rule, we suggest using a local company rather than a branch, since registering a branch is obviously a more difficult task.
Companies that deal with virtual currencies can apply for one license, which has two subcategories:
While applying for a license, we also help with current issues as authorities often have additional questions or need some clarification.
If there is a foreign shareholder of a company (an Estonian licensed company), the FIU requires information about bringing the foreign company and each responsible person of this company to court. It is also necessary to provide an extract from a foreign registry with a list of UBOs of the relevant organization. Therefore, using a foreign company in your structure makes the process very complicated. We suggest avoiding the use of foreign shareholders in the company.
REQUEST FOR MEETING WITH FIU
FIU has a new policy regarding the licensing process, both for newly issued licenses and for changing existing licenses.
FIU may invite the contact person of the FIU / Compliance Officer (Responsible Person) to meet face-to-face prior to issuing the license.The purpose is to confirm that the responsible person is familiar with the rules of procedure for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, the relevant laws of Estonia and the obligations to notify the FIU in case of suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing.
If FIU contact person / compliance officer is not part of the company's structure (on the Board of Directors or equity), FIU wants to see a clear employment relationship between them and the company. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in a negative decision by the FIU.
In case of a meeting request, the client is given 60 days to travel to Estonia and meet with FIU. The Protocol and the decision to issue a license are published after the meeting. If the client is unable to arrive in Estonia within the specified deadline, FIU closes the case automatically and gives a negative answer.
The meeting lasts about 2 hours and will be held in Estonian, so the interpreter should accompany the client. We can provide an experienced interpreter for a fee of 250 EUR per meeting.
During the process, FIU has the right to request additional information and explanations about planned activities. A license will be issued after all the necessary information is considered sufficient and all the conditions are fulfilled.
Any change after obtaining a license (address, owners, directors, UBO, compliance officers, etc.) requires registration of changes in the FIU (licensing authority) with a complete set of documents.
The Company qualifies as a financial institution but has no specific reporting requirements to the tax authorities. Accounting must be kept as for any other company. No special reporting to the regulatory authority is required, but FIU can always make instructions and requests about the company's activities. You can read the recommendations of the financial supervision Department here