As much as states are cracking down on cryptocurrency, some are promoting the asset. This week, Estonia and Israel granted licenses to crypto operators in their respective countries. This is a first of its kind in these countries, which have a framework regulating cryptocurrency.
Striga now official in Estonia
Cryptocurrency exchange Striga has received approval from Estonian authorities to operate in the country, informs a note from the Financial Intelligence Unit. The exchange thus becomes the very first Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) to obtain the license in Estonia after the entry into force of the Act on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing of March 15, 2022. Indeed, this law sets certain conditions for operators wanting to provide cryptocurrency-related services in the country. In particular, it requires Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) to provide KYC information of customers, to have a minimum capital of €125,000 and to obtain an operator’s license in Estonia.
As reassured by the country’s finance minister, the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act does not impose any restrictions on citizens wanting to invest in cryptocurrency. It does not prohibit VASP customers “from owning and trading virtual assets and does not require customers to share their private keys to wallets under any circumstances.”
Bits of Gold to conquer Israel
The Israeli Insurance and Savings Capital Market Authority (ISCMA) has granted cryptocurrency exchange Bits of Gold the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license informs a press release read by Bitcoin Magazine. Bits of Gold thus becomes the very first virtual asset service provider to obtain this license in the country since 2016. That year, Israel had enacted legislation on cryptocurrencies. This law requires crypto service providers to obtain an express license from the ISCMA.
The granting of the license to Bits of Gold expands the scope of the exchange in Israel. From now on, it will be able to conduct transactions with banks. In addition, the exchange plans to introduce Bits of Gold Wallet, a wallet that will be insured and secured. Finally, the company will launch Bits of Gold Connect. This integration system that allows fintechs, banks and other institutions to offer their customers access to bitcoin or cryptocurrencies via the exchange.
Estonia and Israel have long dragged their feet on cryptocurrency adoption. Both countries even have legislation in place that to some extent hinders the emergence of cryptocurrency in their respective countries. But, both countries now seem to understand the importance of cryptocurrency to their citizens and their economies. May other states that still insist on criminalizing cryptocurrency learn from them.
I dream of a world where every citizen has total control over themselves, including their finances. I believe that Bitcoin is one of the tools that will achieve this revolution. Since 2019, I am learning about this cryptocurrency and spreading the word around.