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189 crypto firms shut down following Estonia’s recent regulations

2min Read

Estonian regulators made amends over the past few years to restore the country’s reputation after a high-profile scandal in 2018 involving Denmark’s Dankse Bank.

Estonia’s regulatory reforms prompt hundreds of crypto firms to shut down

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  • Hundreds of virtual asset service providers in Estonia have shut shop following recent amendments in financial regulations.
  • Estonia’s Financial Intelligence Unit identified several lapses in compliance from crypto firms operating in the country.

The presence of crypto firms in Estonia shrunk dramatically after the European nation enforced stricter regulations upon crypto businesses. In little more than a year, the amended regulations have prompted hundreds of virtual asset businesses to shut shop. 

189 crypto firms shut due to non-compliance

According to a recent press release from the Financial Intelligence Unit of Estonia, the amendments to the country’s Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act which was made in March last year, led to nearly 400 crypto firms going out of services due to invalid licenses.

Most of the expirations were based on the decision of the regulator. Regardless, almost 200 virtual asset service providers voluntarily had their authorization revoked. 

The Financial Intelligence Unit revealed that, as of 1 May, 2023, there were 100 licensed virtual asset service providers operating in Estonia. The new financial regulations caused hundreds of crypto firms to abandon their authorization. The amendments resulted from various lapses identified by the regulator in the conduct of digital asset firms.

This included suspicious corporate structure of firms, falsified business records and personnel information, and a lack of connection to Estonia in the business plans of several firms. 

Matis Mäeker, the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit, stated:

“In the applications, we found very many suspicious circumstances on various topics. This calls into question the credibility of the companies that wanted to do business here – their actual desire to provide services in Estonia or, vice versa, shows the desire of certain persons to use the Estonian economic and financial system for illegal activities.” 

The amendments were part of a broader campaign that Estonian regulators undertook over the past few years to restore the country’s reputation after a high-profile scandal in 2018 involving Denmark’s Dankse Bank. The scandal saw nearly $235 billion in illicit funds laundered through one of the bank’s branches in Estonia.


Saman Waris works as a News Editor at AMBCrypto. She has always been fascinated by how the tides of finance and technology shape communities across demographics. Cryptocurrencies are of particular interest to Saman, with much of her writing centered around understanding how ideas like Momentum and Greater Fool theories apply to altcoins, specifically, memecoins. A graduate in history, Saman worked the sports beat before diving into crypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto 2 years ago, Saman was a News Editor at Sportskeeda. This was preceded by her stint as Editor-in-Chief at EssentiallySports.
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