Estonia Approves First Bitcoin, Crypto Bank Striga – Bitcoin Magazine

  • Striga obtains regulatory approval to operate in Estonia as a VASP.
  • The company is the first VASP to be approved following the country’s reworked legislation for VASPs.
  • The law requires KYC information, capital requirements, and affiliation with Estonia.

Striga, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency banking infrastructure provider, has become the first virtual asset service provider (VASP) to gain regulatory approval in Estonia following the country’s overhaul of its legal framework on digital assets, according to an announcement from the Financial Intelligence Unit.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act, which came into force in early March, tightened regulations against VASPs while ensuring customers and merchants in the region that they do not would not be affected.

“This means that the legislation contains no measures prohibiting customers from owning and trading virtual assets and in no way requires customers to share their private keys to wallets,” the finance ministry said.

Essentially, the law requires VASPs to provide identities to their customers, but not private keys. If a VASP cannot provide identification, the provider must “implement real-time risk analysis”.

Also, the legislation changes who is able to get permission to operate in Estonia as VASPs.

“Under new rules, the Financial Intelligence Unit can refuse a license when the entity has no business activity in Estonia or no apparent connection to Estonia,” the finance ministry continued.

Additionally, one of the more stringent VASP requirements was the addition of capital requirements, which made it more difficult for small businesses to be approved.

“PSAVs must have a minimum share capital of 125,000 or 350,000 euros, depending on the type of service offered, increased by the current floor of 12,000 euros”, according to the Ministry of Finance.