Estonia Cut Crypto Companies by 70%

In 2020, Estonia, one of the leading crypto-friendly countries revoked the licensing of about 70% of crypto companies.  According to reports, Estonia’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIC) recently revoked the licensing of over 1000 virtual currency companies operating in the country.

The major crackdown occurred in June when the FIU revoked the licensing of 500 crypto firms in response to a $200 billion money-laundering scandal in the country. At the time, authorities withdrew the permits citing that the crypto companies had failed to start their operations within six months of being licensed.

Veiko Tali, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Government Committee for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing explained that the decision was made because many crypto companies in the country had minimal connection to Estonia and have clientele in remote countries. Tali further explained that monitoring and the regulation of crypto service providers “continuous need of heightened attention,” and that “important regulatory changes” are on the way for the industry.

Despite the revocation, there are around 400 crypto companies still operating in the country. Reportedly, the remaining companies will be closely monitored given the potential risks. Tali added:

“We need to monitor the development of new technologies and manage the associated money laundering risks.”

Bitpanda’s new tech hub

Bitpanda's new tech hub in Poland

Bitpanda, an Australian-based crypto investment firm recently announced its plans for a new tech hub in Klanschek, Poland. For the new tech hub, Bitpanda is committing €10 million (US$12.2 million) according to a tweet by Paul Klanschek, Bitpanda’s CEO and co-founder.

As per the announcement, the hub will double Bitpanda’s workforce. Currently, the firm has 280 staff in Vienna. The new team will be led by CTO Christian Trummer under whom the firm plans to support a move into stocks and exchange-traded funds. While commenting about the hub, Trummer had this to say:

“I’m confident that we will be able to attract the most skilled professionals from the whole region, running from Backend Developers, Software, Machine Learning, and QA Engineers to Product Owners and Scrum Masters.”

Eric Demuth, also CEO and co-founder explained that they choose Krakov because they wanted to access qualified employees, universities, and a good environment that could create a technological ecosystem.

UK FCA grants crypto firms’ temporary registration to help with Backlogs

UK FCA grants temporary registration for crypto companies

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom recently allowed crypto businesses to operate under temporary licensing for the next six months as the regulator deals with a backlog of applications.

In a notice on Wednesday, the authority explained that it has granted temporary registration over the period from Jan 9 2021 to July 2021. Notably, this will only apply to businesses that made their applications before Dec 16, 2020.

Since July, the FCA has been warning cryptocurrency businesses it will need at least six months to fully process applications before the hard deadlines in January. The authority explained that due to the ongoing pandemic that has caused restrictions on visits and the “complexity and standard of the applications” received, it was not able to assess and register all the firms that applied.

Notably, all businesses that did not make the registration deadline will be required to return crypto assets to customers and stop trading by Jan 10, 2021. Also, companies failing to do so will be breaking the law and “are at risk of being subject to the FCA’s criminal and civil enforcement powers.

US Treasury to hire officers to handle crimes the cryptocurrency market

FinCEN job vacancy for crypto crime

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently posted vacancies for two high-profile crypto positions to combat crypto crimes in the industry.  The authority is targeting people who are experts specializing in crypto-related finance threats and risks. The new officers will “assist in the development of policy responses to these challenges.”  The new officers will also:

“Provide subject matter expertise on regulatory technology, financial technology, and digital identity issues. They will perform a range of extremely complex and sensitive assignments related to virtual currency, crypto and emerging technology-related, including the issuance of advisories and other guidance, to financial institutions,” 

For the position, the authority is looking for persons with at least one year of experience at a related level of difficulty following grade levels in the Federal service.

Reportedly, the salary for both positions ranges from $102,663 to $157,709 per year. The crypto policy officers will be based in Washington and the closing date for the positions is 28 December.