In a press release on May 15, the Estonian consulting firm Eesti Consulting OU states that it has become more difficult to obtain a cryptocurrency license in Estonia because of the new regulations.
Estonia Strengthens Their Cryptocurrency Laws
Recently we reported that on May 3, the Estonian Ministry of Finance introduced changes to the process of obtaining a cryptocurrency license. The new regulations provide a number of formal obligations. For example, extending the application processing period from 30 to 90 days. Also, requiring the company incorporation in Estonia or running a branch of a foreign company.
In addition, the registered office and the board of directors of the company must now be located in Estonia. Moreover, the state fee for licensing increased from EUR 345 ($386) to EUR 3,330 ($3,729). Estonia’s State Finance Minister Martin Helme explained the reasons for these changes:
“We have learned our lesson from the banking sector the hard way, and we must now deal with new international risks, with cryptocurrencies among the most urgent of these.”
Current License Holders Still Have Time To Comply
The representatives of the company Eesti Consulting OU claim that it will be more difficult to obtain a cryptocurrency trading license with the new rules. It is known that current license holders will have time to meet the new requirements by the end of the year. If not, the regulator will revoke their license. The Financial Intelligence Unit has a right to invite a potentially responsible person for an interview to check AML knowledge of the applicant.
In December last year, the Estonian Ministry of Finance announced its plans to amend the adopted financial bill to tighten the rules for cryptocurrency trading.
These current laws actually will strengthen the trust from regular traders, who just want to safely trade their cryptocurrencies. These new laws will squeeze out all the scammy exchanges. This is good for the ecosystem.
On May 2, the Estonian government approved the Ministry of Finance’s new laws on the fight against money laundering, terrorism, and state fees. These include strengthening the cryptocurrency circulation laws.
Priority Number One!
Financial Chief Executive Martins Helme believes that “one of the most important but not the last” step in this direction should be to tighten the conditions for virtual currency circulation and virtual wallet services.
The minister said: “The banking sector has learned a painful lesson and now we need to address new international risks, of which the risk of cryptocurrency is one of the most important.”
Moreover, he stressed that the fight against money laundering is one of the priorities of the new government. It started on Monday and will receive special attention.
Increasing fees and a background check
According to Helme, the licensing conditions will be changed for companies dealing with cryptocurrency exchange for cash and vice versa. Also, as well as for the license of a virtual wallet service provider. When issuing a license, the Money Laundering Data Bureau will check the biography and reputation of the company’s board members. To obtain the license, a foreign company will have to open a branch in Estonia. However, the license fee will increase from 345 to 3300 euros. Companies that already have a license will have to apply the requirements of the updated legislation.
Estonia – The Crypto Legislation Pioneer!
On April 24, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaida approved the new Estonian government with the head of the Center Party, Jiri Ratas.
In Europe, Estonia is a pioneer in the legislation development that favors the cryptocurrency sector. The small Baltic state was the first to issue operating licenses to cryptocurrency companies. Now the number of crypto-companies registered in Estonia is around 1000. The regulator issues two types of licenses. According to the Estonian news agency Err.ee – in 2018, Estonia licensed 444 wallet providers and 526 cryptocurrency trading platforms.
Estonia is known for its advanced electronic government infrastructure. Also, the country has a unique electronic residence program that provides individuals and corporations with access to fast and cheap services. The License process takes only two weeks. Compliance with legislation is an important precondition for obtaining an operating license.
Recently a new Estonia-based exchange, called DX Exchange, announced that they are about to offer stocks on the blockchain. The ten top securities listed on NASDAQ will soon be available for purchase. Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Tesla, Netflix, Baidu, Intel, and NVIDIA. Additionally, they plan to add stocks from the New York Stock Exchange, the Tokyo Exchange, and the Hong Kong Exchange. This is the first time a non-CFD (Contracts for Difference) company offers stock trading. You can buy stocks with Bitcoin on the Blockchain. DX Exchange new platform will launch on January 7th. “By tokenizing stocks of some of the biggest publicly traded companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and more, DX is opening an untapped market of millions of old and new traders around the globe cutting out the middleman,” the CEO of the exchange, Daniel Skowronski, explained in the press release.
ERC20 to tokenize stocks
The company will use Ethereum and ERC20 to tokenize the biggest publicly traded companies. They claim that this service will work similarly to stablecoins. The tokens will be backed 1:1 by the physical assets, and instead of fiat money, they will use stocks as a peg. MPS MarketPlace Securities issues these real stocks with which DX signed an exclusive agreement to bring tokenized assets to their platform. Users will have the ability to purchase fractions of shares if they cannot afford a full stock. Moreover, above all, investors and traders now will be able to store their stocks on Ethereum wallets, meaning that users could store stock tokens in their Trezor, MyEtherWallet, or Ledger wallets. They will no longer have to trust brokers whom they have never seen in person.
Trading stocks 24/7
This new feature will allow traders to trade these top stocks 24/7. Stock markets are open from 9 AM to 4 PM, Monday to Friday, and usually, they take a day off during public holidays. However, the crypto markets are open 24/7. Also, the reports say that DX is backed by NASDAQ matching engine, which provides “functionally-rich platforms support trading in any asset, anytime, anywhere and are both scalable and flexible to adapt as the firm expands into new asset classes or looks to offer additional services,” says in the NASDAQ website.
Daniel Skowronski explained:
“The crypto community has been talking about tokenizing assets for well over a year now without much progress, so we think the impact will be huge. Tokenizing securities is the first true use case where crypto collides with the real world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With fractional ownership and no leverage like CFDs, these new digital stocks are a more sound and safer investment that traders can take home in their wallet. This is the future of securities not just new issues but all the thousands of listed securities around the globe.”
The first exchange to provide this service?
Although it looks like this is something no company has ever tried to achieve, there is a minor step-back in this thought. A company called BitShares offers their Decentralized Exchange called BitShares DEX. They have tokenized TESLA, APPLE, ALPHABET, APPLE and many more derivatives including GOLD and SILVER. An account named “DEXbot”, who posted his answer replying to the article said: “BitShares DEX already has that. Tesla Microsoft GE Apple Google already tokenized (we even have gold silver and oil) and available for trade with the added benefit of owning your private keys hence more secure; besides that BitShares blockchain can run all Nasdaq Dow Visa and Mastercard at once.”
That said, DX does not sound that original anymore, but there is a slight catch to this. BitShares DEX has almost no volume to these stocks on the blockchain. It seems like users of the DEX platform added them. DEXbot also claims that BitShares have had stablecoins since 2014, but “people don’t pay attention”. On the other hand, BitShares offers a decentralized exchange which is open source in comparison to DX Exchange which is regulated and licensed. They have probably spent vast amounts of money to get their word out, unlike BitShares. Most likely, their mass media coverage is thanks to their partnership with Bloomberg.com. However, this might be precisely what stock traders want. Maybe they don’t want to learn new platforms like Decentralized exchanges and want to trade 24/7 with a regulated company. And DX Exchange is about to offer that.
Last week, November 26-27, in Tallin, Estonia, insights about the latest achievements in blockchain and cryptocurrencies gathered the annual Moontec Blockchain Summit. Last year they had massive success, bringing in more than 2000 attendants and representatives from large companies like IBM and Microsoft. This year, they had a similar line-up. The emphasis was on blockchain technologies in combination with governments. Also, multiple presentations were dedicated for Estonia’s “new” e-residency platform of which Estonians are very proud of. One of the keynote speakers this year was “DataDash” or Nicholas Merten. The overall feeling was filled with passion, excitement, and willingness to learn. This year was special because the organizers prohibited ICO pitches in that way leading the summit to a more focused environment.
Multiple representatives from Estonia’s e-residency platform stormed the conference. They all shared their broad experience since its launch in 2014. Kaspar Korjus, the managing director, led his presentation more philosophically and shared a few interesting facts. For example, E-residency has seen a direct increase in applications since the United Kingdom voted for Brexit. Apparently, business owners in Britain are frustrated about their future, so to avoid possible problems with taxation they register within Estonia’s new business residency. It is easy to set up. Applicants can do it from a distance, meaning the companies don’t have to leave their area of operation. Also, another shocking fact is that if the applications keep coming and the cost for maintaining an e-residency account is 100 Euros/month, then Estonia wouldn’t need to tax people in 10 years. Kaspar’s presentation ended with an inspiring quote: “I believe nations are becoming more independent from its own physical land, citizens, services, revenue and start serving humans as never before.”
Ott Vatter, the deputy director of e-residency, shared the story of est-coin – the phenomena which introduced Estonia to the wider blockchain and crypto audience. Still, many people know what Estonia is, just because of this subject. It projects Estonia in a very crypto-friendly light, although the country lately would suit the nickname “the least crypto-friendly country” instead.
So Mr. Vatter told the story of how Estonia got so popular among crypto people. Initially, est-coin was meant for e-residency implementation as a small figure, but the Estonian media portrayed it in a completely different light. They accused that Vatter and his team wants to implement est-coin within the government and make it a national currency. The whole world picked it up rather quickly and shared it, respectively.
Blockchain in governments
The overall feel after listening to all the presentations on blockchain in relevance with governments was that – it already is being used full-time. Governments from all around the world are seeking the best aspects of adopting blockchain the best way there possibly is. For example, Daniel Gasteiger, the founder and CEO of Procivis AG, shared what various governments around the world are using blockchain for. Sweden, Georgia and other countries have blockchain powered land registries. South Korea invests in e-voting and certification issuance. Japan is processing government tenders through blockchain, and the United Arab Emirates, in general, are Blockchain pioneers.
Just like mentioned before, governments are already exploring what blockchain can and cannot do, so the question after this summit was – are we going to need cryptocurrencies anymore? The real use-case here is only for blockchain.
The venue itself was small but unique. It was an old soviet heating factory. Brick walls, huge metal subjects, and enormously high ceilings embellished the summit. There weren’t that many companies with stands to show off their working field. Change, CoinMetro, Taitoss, WinWin Solutions, Delta Heroes, and BTCBIT were the only companies with actual stands. There were two stages – The main stage was called Universe stage, and the small one was called the Moon stage. During launch breaks, the organizers thoughtfully anticipated many types of foods for every kind of food lover. So the attendants could network without any problems.
This year’s hype was built up for this summit because of the last year’s success. One of the biggest let downs was the absence of the main keynote speaker – Taavi Roivas, ex-prime minister of Estonia. He canceled his speech, because of his work in the government.
Judging by last years success and the big attendance, we expected something similar, but got struck by a different picture. There was nothing close to 2000 attendants, and if one stage was full, then that meant that the rest of the venue was close to empty. Not speaking in direct numbers, but it honestly looked like the event lacked some audience.
However, then if you give it a more logical thought – it makes sense. Last year the organizers opened this summit during December when the biggest bull-run in crypto history occurred. Naturally, it gathered many audiences because everyone was at hype and thought that all the ICOs are going to bring in moons and lambos. However, now, after a year of constant money losing, the audience is getting pickier on what to attend. It was clearly in the air, as already mentioned before, the main topics were about blockchain technologies, not cryptocurrencies. Everybody is hodling, speaking about buidl, and are in high expectations on spedning his or her assets when the mass adoption comes. Looking from this point of view – Moontec has become more like an industry checkpoint. By attending Moontec, you can see and feel how the industry has developed over the course of one year. Can’t wait and see how the summit is going to look like next year.
Starting next week, one of the most prominent summits in the northern Europe region will take place. It is a two-day conference beginning from Monday, November 26 and ending on November 27, respectively. Moontec resides in the Baltic crypto capital – Tallin, Estonia. Last year all the tickets were sold out, and more than 2000 attendants from 30+ countries visited the event.
Moontec… to the moon?
The event mainly focuses on the development and use cases of blockchain technologies and companies operating with cryptocurrencies. This year will bring a much more organized and selected schedule, and most certainly will draw new areas of interest. From the beginning, Moontec has attracted industry professionals from all around the world. Big companies like Microsoft and IBM is returning to the conference, and this year one of the key speakers is Nicholas Merten, the man behind one of the most popular crypto youtube channels – DataDash. It is most definitely worth to come and see his presentation on “How Cryptocurrencies are Disrupting and Liberating Emerging Markets.”
The crypto capital of the Baltic region
Estonia, in general, has been an early cryptocurrency and digital trend adaptor. Their e-residency platform is fast gaining popularity. It launched on December 1, 2014, and it allows non-Estonians access to Estonian services such as company formation, banking, payment processing, and taxation. It is reasonably easy to use and even more comfortable to form.
Ott Vatter, the deputy director at e-residency, will host the opening speech. Moreover, the subject of e-residency will be widely discussed during the conference day one. Kaspar Korjus, the managing director at e-residency, will speak on several discussion panels about the governments’ ability to support blockchain, and weather e-residency can help countries to scale.
No ICOs this year
This year Moontec has decided not to allow ICO pitches. So there won’t be any ICOs at all presenting their “soon to be” products. They write: “With the majority of Blockchain events becoming ICO pitching arenas, we decided to prohibit ICO promotion on our stages and focus on the technological aspects of Blockchain and its use cases.” We congratulate this decision because we believe that allowing ICOs to present their yet undeveloped ideas to attendants who paid their hard earned money, was not ethically correct.
Last year Moontec gathered speakers and product stands from prominent tech companies around the world. Such companies as Microsoft, IBM, Hyperledger, Consensys, Lykke and many more were the key attendees.
This year will be no exception as many of these companies are returning to the conference to share their freshly developed ideas. Of course, new companies have joined in like OKEx exchange, CoinJar, Revolut, representatives from NEO blockchain, Lloyds Bank, and even Interpol. So it is safe to say that this year the event will be twice as better as it was last year. Meaning that even more crypto ground gets covered in these two days.
Moontec most certainly looks like a go-to event. It will mostly focus on actual technology rather than discuss the possibilities that future offers. Day one is specifically for regulatory enquires. Members from the European Parliament are expected to present their view on blockchain technologies as well. However, the second day will mainly outline blockchain use cases among many companies.
Best Coin Investments proudly can say that we are the media partners for this event. So we will cover a review after the event and keep you posted about the ongoings within the summit by communicating through our Twitter account.
If you are near Tallin during November 26-27, definitely come and take a look at this event as it will share some of the most profound insights on where the global cryptocurrency market is heading.