Cryptocurrencies: Not legal tender Cryptocurrency exchanges: Legal, must register with the Financial Intelligence Unit
Cryptocurrency regulations in Estonia are open and innovative, especially in comparison to other EU member-states. Although not legal tender, Estonia’s government regards cryptocurrencies as “value represented in digital form”. The government classes cryptocurrencies as digital assets for tax purposes but does not subject them to VAT. In 2017, the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorism Finance Act introduced robust new regulations for crypto businesses operating in Estonia.
Exchanges are legal in Estonia but, after the 2017 AML/CFT legislation, operate under a well-defined regulatory framework which includes strict reporting and KYC rules. Under current legislation, cryptocurrency exchanges must obtain two licenses from the Financial Intelligence Unit of Estonia: the Virtual Currency Exchange Service License, and the Virtual Currency Wallet Service License.
A number of crypto initiatives with potentially significant regulatory consequences have been mooted in Estonia including a speculative government plan to introduce a national cryptocurrency known as “estcoin”. After EU criticism, Estonia’s government stepped back from the plan but continues to examine ways to use the estcoin within a government “e-residency” program.
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