Estonia Won't Ban Anonymous Crypto Holding

Anonymous crypto accounts may be off-limits to companies, but not individuals.

Estonia Won't Ban Anonymous Crypto Holding
Shutterstock photo by Wirestock Creators

Key Takeaways

  • Estonia has clarified that recently-drafted regulations will not ban individuals from anonymously holding crypto.
  • Instead, the regulations may prevent companies (virtual asset service providers) from offering anonymous accounts.
  • The regulations also increase capital requirements to prevent companies from being sold to third parties outside Estonia.

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The government of Estonia has clarified that pending regulations will not constitute a full ban on holding cryptocurrency anonymously.

Draft Bill Could Affect Companies

On Dec. 23, Estonia approved draft legislation that would regulate certain activities related to crypto and virtual assets. Notably, it would have imposed a ban on anonymous virtual currency accounts, building on a rule that took effect in summer 2020.

Now, the Estonian government has clarified that this will only apply to companies and will have no effect on individuals who hold cryptocurrency in their personal digital wallets.

“The regulation is not applied to customers, but to [virtual asset service providers] who conduct activities for or on behalf of a natural or legal person as a permanent business,” the government wrote in a news update published on Sunday, Jan. 2.

Rules Aim to Prevent Financial Crime

The Estonian government went on to note that the measures are similar to rules that apply to banks and payment processors, and that those rules are intended to prevent financial crime.

The new regulations will also increase capital requirements to ensure that virtual asset service providers are active companies. This approach is meant to prevent dormant virtual asset service providers from being sold to third parties outside of Estonia.

The bill has not yet been approved and must go through three readings in the Estonian parliament before it becomes law.

Other Countries Are Regulating Cryptocurrency

The news comes shortly after concerns that India would introduce restrictions that would effectively ban cryptocurrency. Recent statements from officials suggest that this is not the case.

Elsewhere, the United States’ Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will soon increase the reporting requirements of cryptocurrency exchanges and brokerages that receive more than $10,000 of cryptocurrency.

China, meanwhile, has imposed a very extensive ban that has banned virtually all crypto trading through exchanges.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and other cryptocurrencies. 

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