Starting a Cryptocurrency Company in Estonia and obtaining the necessary licenses

General information

Estonia is an excellent country to start a cryptocurrency company in for a few reasons:

Cryptocurrency Company

Cryptocurrency Exchange License

Your Company can provide services such as exchanging crpyto to crypto, fiat to crypto or crypto to fiat as well as providing a crypto wallet service.

For this type of Company You need an operating license from the FIU (Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit).

A Cryptocurrency Company in Estonia is defined as a financial institution, but with no special reporting requirements to Estonian tax authorities. Accounting and reporting is the same as for a regular Estonian Company. Please bear in mind that the FIU can always make inquiries about Your Company’s activities. You can find some of their advisory guidelines on their website here.

What do You need to do?

How can You apply for license?

The license needs to be applied for via an Estonian Company or via a registered branch office of a foreign Company in Estonia.

We will be more than happy to assist You through the whole process of starting a Cryptocurrency Company and applying for the necessary license from abovementioned authorities.

Who can start an Estonian Crpytocurrency Company?

The company can be run by anyone, regardless of location and citizenship. Usually it is recommended that the Company’s shares are held directly. With an indirect ownership, where the Company is owned by another foreign Company, You are usually required to present criminal records and passport copies of all the persons related to that Company aswell, which can be an extra burden to avoid.

Necessary documents to present

  1. Past criminal record (certificate of the register of convictions) of all related persons (board members, shareholders, UBOs)
  2. Passport copies of all the same related persons
  3. CV of the contact person for the company holding the license. This can be either an actual CV document or a LinkedIn profile.

These documents need to be:

  1. Less than 3 months old
  2. In English or Russian language
  3. Certified by a notary
  4. Depending on the country, documents might also need to be with apostille.

You might also have to present Your description of planned activities and rules of procedure for Anti Money Laundring (AML) purposes. Sometimes the officials also ask for CVs of related persons.

How long will it take?

Creating a Cryptocurrency Company from scratch

If You wish to found a completely new Company, the time it takes mostly depends on how fast we can get the necessary documentations in line. Company creation itself usually takes 1-3 days. If You want to buy the Company via a visit to Estonia, it is easy and usually takes up to 1 week. If You would prefer to buy the Company remotely, some additional costs will occur and the timeframe depends on how fast we can get the necessary Power of Attorneys from You.

Applying for licenses

We can apply for a license to a Company regardless if You already have an Estonian Company or we have made it ourselves.

If we have all the necessary documents and required information from You, we can start the application process for licenses. FIU, the authority who grants the licenses, promises to process the application within 60 working days. In some cases this can be up to 120 working days. During the process FIU might ask for additional information and details. In case everything is correct and the information is sufficient, there is no reason to believe the application would be denied.

Precise extract from the law:

§ 72. Object of inspection of authorisation
(1) Authorisation is granted to an undertaking where:
    1) the undertaking, a member of its management body, procurator, beneficial owner and owner do not have any unexpired conviction for a criminal offence against the authority of the state, offence relating to money laundering or other wilfully committed criminal offence;
   
1.1) the persons specified in clause 1 of this subsection have good business reputation;
    2) the compliance officer appointed by the undertaking on the basis of § 17 of this Act meets the requirements provided for in this Act;
    3) the undertaking’s subsidiary whose activities the authorisation sought in the name of the undertaking is to be used for meets the requirements specified in clauses 1 and 2 of this section;
    4) the registered seat, the seat of the management board and place of business of the undertaking applying for authorisation in the field of activity specified in clause 4 of subsection 1 of § 70 of this Act is in Estonia or a foreign company operates in Estonia via a branch that is registered in the commercial register and the place of business and the seat of the head of which is Estonia;
    5) a payment account has been opened for the undertaking applying for authorisation in the field of activity specified in clause 4 of subsection 1 of § 70 of this Act in a credit institution, e-money institution or payment institution that has been established in Estonia or in a contracting state of the European Economic Area and provides cross-border services in Estonia or has established a branch in Estonia;
    6) the share capital of the undertaking applying for authorisation in the field of activity specified in clause 4 of subsection 1 of § 70 of this Act is at least 12,000 euros and has been contributed in full.

(2) Whether the business reputation is good is assessed by the issuer of the authorisation, taking into account the person’s prior activities and related circumstances. The existence of good business reputation is presumed where circumstances calling into doubt are absent.

[RT I, 31.12.2019, 2 – entry into force 10.03.2020]

See our application form to open a new Company