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How To Get a License To Operate A Crypto Exchange In Estonia And Other Areas

Operating in the crypto sector comes with various challenges, such as market volatility, regulatory changes, and the speculative nature of assets.

Before launching a business, you must obtain a custodial or currency conversion services license for converting cryptocurrencies to fiat money.

Numerous nations, including Gibraltar, Estonia, Malta, Malaysia, and Lithuania offer exchange licenses. This article will outline the necessary documentation and procedures for getting a crypto exchange license

Licensing in Estonia

Government rules regarding crypto payments and exchanges differ. A license in Estonia enables businesses to operate lawfully and in accordance with regulations.

Estonia passed a law in 2017 allowing businesses to apply for a business permit to operate as providers of decentralized wallets or crypto-fiat exchange services. The legislation enforces strict KYC and AML procedures when changing cryptocurrency into fiat money.

Operators can legitimately offer wallet services and exchanges to European consumers with an Estonian permit. The application process necessitates a physical office, local employees, internal auditing, a €10,000 fee, and €100,000 starting capital. It can take up to six months.

Lawmakers updated the standards in 2022, including new procedures for registering new investors and confirming user information, such as name, ID, date of birth, address, and payment method information.

Several Requirements 

Estonian regulations allow exchanges to provide on-ramp and off-ramp services for the exchange of cash and virtual currencies. Providers might also offer wallet-based cryptocurrency storage services. Regulating organizations requires a two-year business plan and details on capital allocation.

Licensed exchanges are required to keep internal audit records, submit yearly reports, and adhere to KYC and AML regulations. Estonia avoids double taxation by abiding by traditional business tax regulations and reaping the benefits of trade agreements. In 2024, the value-added tax rate rose to 22%.

The Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit investigates applicants for AML compliance. Business members, beneficiaries, or managers must not have a criminal record. In addition to providing clear records, experience, and contact person qualifications, applicants must have a strong company reputation.

All applicants must have a legal office address in Estonia, while foreign companies are required to have a branch office. The compliance team must work with the AML agency and submit documentation and reports. Applicants must also have a bank account connected to the Estonian system.

Application Process

Start by submitting your application electronically at https://mtr.ttja.ee, the governmental website, to apply for a crypto exchange license in Estonia. Provide a real office address in the country together with ownership or leasing documentation. Provide the contact details of the communication person, service provider, reps, attorney, and finance conductor.

Send in your internal quality control standards and policies. Provide information about the beneficiaries’ and business owners’ identities, roles, and criminal backgrounds. Enumerate business bank accounts, making sure each one is linked to the Estonian financial network. Provide thorough information about cryptocurrencies’ assets.

A two-year business plan should be attached, along with bank paperwork proving the existence of cash in euros. Give the internal or external auditor’s name and contact details. Describe technical aspects like platforms, websites, and advances in technology.

There is a €10,000 application fee. In more complex circumstances, the process may take up to six months, but it typically takes sixty days.

Estonia provides guidelines on accounting for cryptocurrency holdings, a safe environment for doing crypto business, transparent legislation for crypto services, no annual permission fees, and 0% corporation tax.

Alternative Options

Aside from Estonia, a few other areas grant licences to crypto exchanges, allowing for international operations. Hong Kong, Dubai, Malta, Malaysia, Indonesia, Labuan (Malaysia), and Lithuania are some of these regions.

Specific licensing requirements exist for certain locations. For example, minimum capital requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges range greatly from $16 million in Indonesia to $150,000 in Labuan. There are also variations in authorised activities, tax rates, and application fees.

Acquiring these substitute licenses may grant entry to new markets, advantageous tax policies, and expansion prospects. Malta, for instance, offers a 0% business tax on crypto transactions. Businesses must, however, pay close attention and abide by the unique laws and rules in each area.


Getting a license from Estonia has become standard procedure for exchange operators and virtual wallet operators. Estonia is renowned for its easy access to foreign markets and transparent laws. With this license, there is only a 22% value-added tax, no corporate or dividend gain tax, no double taxation, and no yearly renewal fees. Lithuania, Labuan, Malta, and Hong Kong are well-liked options for acquiring cryptocurrency licenses since they provide conducive settings and policies for starting exchanges.

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