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Head of the Estonian Financial Watchdog Endangers Crypto License Holders

Oct 21, 2021

Head of the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), who has been appointed to his role in May, 2021, Matis Maeker, has recently made a statement that the country should re-start the licensing process of all crypto-related businesses in the country, which implies that all of crypto exchanges will be revoked their licenses. According to Estonian media outlet, Eesti Ekspress, the financial watchdog’s chief wants to ‘turn the regulation to zero’.

“These risks are very, very high. We need to react cardinally and very quickly,” Maeker commented on the topic of the people being unaware of the risks that cryptocurrencies carry. That said, the official expressed his concerns on issues like money laundering and terrorism financing via illegal crypto activities. “The public does not know the amount (in the cryptographic business) or the risks associated with it,” he added.

As of today, there is around 400 licensed crypto operators in Estonia. However, the new head of FIU expressed his skepticism towards having many crypto-related companies in Estonia, given their profits usually are not invested into the Estonian society. He stated: “Their only goal is to get an Estonian license and use it to turn over very large sums, while Estonia gets nothing out of it.”

Moreover, the Estonian watchdog has already revoked 1,808 crypto licenses in year 2020. However, a risk assessment performed by the authorities found that changes made up to that point were not enough to mitigate the risks.

Maeker Background

Maeker was appointed to the role of Head of Financial Intelligence Unit this May. He has a reputation for pointing out money laundering issues in Estonia. Since last year, Estonia has been tightening its checks on crypto companies by launching licenses cancelation campaigns.

The country itself came under the spotlight of money laundering accusations after Danske Bank, the Denmark’s biggest lender, was charged of watching $230 billion through a tiny Estonian branch. Furthermore, northern Baltic country was among the first jurisdictions in Europe to set up crypto-related licenses back in 2017.

In the light of news from Estonian crypto-regulator, who has significantly increased control over crypto-market and made license acquisition much more difficult, for those who are still interested in obtaining European crypto-license we are offering assistance with obtaining Lithuanian crypto-license which as of today is the most affordable European license.

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