Estonia has withdrawn permits from one thousand crypto companies this year.
One of the countries lauded as being among the most crypto friendly in the European Union revoked the licenses of more than 1,000 crypto firms in 2020.
According to news outlet Postimees, Estonia’s Financial Intelligence Unit, or FIU, has revoked the licenses of roughly 70% of virtual currency companies operating in the country this year. Veiko Tali, the Deputy Secretary General of the Government Committee for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, said the remaining crypto firms also required “close attention” given the potential risks:
“We need to monitor the development of new technologies and manage the associated money laundering risks.”
The media outlet stated that there are 400 crypto-related service providers remaining with the appropriate licenses in Estonia following the purge. The financial watchdog reported that 900 such firms operated in the country last year.
A major crackdown occurred in June, when the FIU revoked the licenses of 500 crypto firms in response to a $220 billion money laundering scandal in Estonia. Regulators withdrew the permits as the crypto companies had failed to start operations within six months of being licensed.
At the time, FIU head Madis Reimand called the financial watchdog’s actions the “first step in tidying up the market.”
In 2017, the country was seen by many as a crypto trailblazer with a series of laws seemingly intended to encourage exchanges and ICOs. However, the regulatory landscape in Estonia has since changed, and goes beyond the requirements of the EU’s 2019 Know Your Customer laws, making the path for licensed crypto firms attempting to comply with local regulations more difficult.
BitBay went down at approximately 4:28 PM UTC today.
Estonia-based cryptocurrency exchange BitBay went offline for almost two hours on Monday without explanation.
According to a tweet posted by BitBay on Oct. 12, the exchange went down at approximately 4:28 PM (UTC) today before resuming trading at 6:10 PM. BitBay posted an update before it had resolved the unnamed issue, announcing its plan to launch the platform with “the blocked possibility of transaction processing.” Users had 30 minutes to cancel offers posted on the exchange shortly before it went offline.
This incident is BitBay’s second unscheduled outage in 2020. In March, users were unable to trade for more than 18 hours after the exchange said it struggled with a “network problem” resulting from its “external service provider.”
The shorter outage time today resulted in far less concern on social media than the episode earlier this year, but at least one user referenced BitBay’s network issues in March.
“Are you guys playing with your investors’ emotions?” said Crypto Twitter user Binod Kumar. “It’s still not working.”
BitBay claims to have an annual volume of 547,000 Bitcoin (BTC), or roughly $6.4 billion at the time of writing.
They’re following other central banks, including the European Central Bank, into studying virtual currencies.
The Estonian central bank, Eesti Pank, announced the launch of a research program to study how to build a digital currency infrastructure.
According to a statement, Eesti Pank partnered with technology companies SW7 Group and Guardtime for the research project. It aims to see if a keyless signature infrastructure (KSI) blockchain solution can run its virtual currency program. Estonia already uses KSI blockchain technology for its e-government services. The bank’s project will also look into new payment solutions “that can be made possible by using electronic IDs and other Estonian e-government solutions.”
The project, however, will not specify which technologies should be used.
The project will consist of several phases and will last about two years. The first phase will study how to build a scalable, practical, and secure platform that meets the requirements of digital funds. At the same time, the platform also needs to tick the boxes of speed, security, privacy, and resilience.
Rainer Olt, head of the bank’s Payment Systems Department, said:
“As a small central bank, Eesti Pank carefully chooses which development projects of euro area central banks we can make a meaningful contribution to. Over the years, Estonia has developed unique know-how on how to maintain a secure, private and efficient e-government. Estonia’s unique wealth of experience provides a good impetus to launch a project with technology companies SW7 and Guardtime to explore technological opportunities. The latter is Estonia’s long-term cooperation partner in the field of the blockchain and a complete top in the world in its field.”
The bank stressed that they are continually striving to develop the financial environment and their payment system to keep pace with the times and meet the needs of citizens.
Estonia has been leaning towards blockchain technology though its e-residency program recently came under fire when e-residents were linked to scams.
Last month, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde explained that adopting the digital euro does not mean dispensing with the fiat.
A team of professional developers from Estonia is launching a new crypto exchanger Swep.io. Being extremely enthusiastic about making a name on the market Swep.io team has serious plans on improving and adding features into their brainchild. Swep.io users can already choose from more than 121 crypto coins in order to proceed in exchange operations […]
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