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How to Set Up a Crypto Exchange Licence in the EU: Estonia

Contributed by MAXCORP - Legal Department
03 January, 2022

Estonian crypto exchange and wallet operator licenses for VASPs

Estonia is a small European Union country of just 1.3m people, but it is regarded as one of the world's most advanced digital nations. Estonia offers a regulated legal environment for virtual asset service provider (VASP) companies, being the first country in the EU to create the legal framework for virtual currencies in 2017. It is a widely recognised alternative to jurisdictions like Malta, Singapore or Switzerland - only with lower costs.

Estonia has a favourable tax (e.g. 0% CIT) and legal environment for blockchain and crypto focused companies. The legal framework for crypto currencies was passed in a law in November 2017 and Estonia became the first European Union member-state to define the requirements for full compliance. The AML legislation was updated in March 2020 which on one hand increased the licensing threshold, but at the other hand increased the value of the Estonian crypto license.

The Estonian crypto license covers:

  • Providers of a service of exchanging a crypto currency against a fiat currency (covers offering services for exchanging fiat to crypto, crypto to fiat and crypto to crypto)
  • Providers of a crypto currency wallet service (covers both hot and cold wallets)

More information about crypto licensing in Estonia: https://www.maxcorp.eu/eng/crypto/crypto-license-estonia/

How to apply for Crypto Currency Exchange and Wallet License in Estonia?

In order to successfully apply for the virtual currency service provider license, first an Estonian private limited liability company has to be set up. Fortunately, The World Bank ranks Estonia 16th in its ease of doing business report and Estonia ranks 1st in the International Tax Competitiveness Index as there is no corporate income tax, no capital tax and no property transfer taxes.

The formation of an Estonian company can be carried out remotely with no visit required and it usually takes a few weeks - we support you through the full procedure. After the Estonian Limited Liability Company has been set up our lawyers will apply for the crypto license on your behalf. All legal documentation such as the AML and KYC policies are prepared by our lawyers according to the legal framework. As an alternative we can also provide companies with already activated crypto licenses for fast transfer.

Key points for crypto company in Estonia:

  • At least 1 shareholder (natural person or corporate entity). No restrictions to citizenship or residence.
  • At least 1 management board member who is Estonian resident and located in Estonia.
  • Estonian resident AML compliance officer requirement.
  • Local on-site office with substance needed.

We offer full compliance support services for the abovementioned requirements.

Required documentation for Crypto Licence Application in Estonia:

  • Certified copy of passport and Power of Attorney
  • Description of planned business model and website address
  • Police certificate clearing the participants of any criminal records

End-to-end setup of Crypto Company Structures in Estonia

MAXCORP is a licensed service provider for company formations and corporate services, with a professional team in business since 1998. Our onsite legal team in Estonia offers a full range of corporate services, including end-to-end setup of Estonian blockchain and crypto company structures. Our experience in working with a myriad of licensing projects since the birth of crypto focused legislation can be at your disposal if you like to work with professionals.

For more information and a free case evaluation please contact us by visiting our website at https://www.maxcorp.eu/eng/crypto/crypto-license-estonia/


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