Estonia Grants First Crypto License to LastBit's Striga

The crypto banking company is first to jump over new anti-money laundering hurdles which significantly toughen Estonia's legal regime.

AccessTimeIconSep 22, 2022 at 9:29 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 22, 2022 at 3:54 p.m. UTC

Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

Crypto banking company Striga is the first firm to be awarded a license under a new Estonian legal regime that was significantly toughened earlier this year.

Striga was given the authorization to operate on Sept. 20, the Estonian financial intelligence unit (FIU), an anti-money laundering enforcer, said in a statement dated Wednesday. The company, part of Bitcoin Lightning startup LastBit, is now registered under an anti-money laundering law which seeks to clamp down on a previously liberal regime for regulating crypto firms.

The head of the FIU, Matis Mäeker, told CoinDesk in May that he wanted to professionalize the sector via the new regime. Many of the hundreds of companies registered in the country had no proper business plan or nexus in the country, Mäeker said.

Striga Chief Executive Officer Bernardo Magnani said at the time that the approval process had been “challenging, to say the least … [F]or us it was hard to predict how it was going to look.”

Existing firms also had to renew their licenses under the new Estonian law, which took effect in March. The challenge of complying with the new hurdles, which include requirements to hold minimum levels of capital and to have dedicated compliance officers, has led the number of registered firms to plummet from 381 in December to 177 as of Wednesday.

“Regulation in this space is just starting,” Magnani said during a Thursday telephone interview, with the European Union just now finalizing its landmark Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA), and more potentially still to come. “We believe that being at the front of that will allow us to be very competitive.”

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Jack Schickler is a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.

Investing in the Future of the Digital Economy
October 18-19 | Spring Studio, NYC