Authorities in Estonia are beginning to raise alarm that several Estonia e-residents are involved in one crypto scam or another.
According to the police financial intelligent unit, companies registered overseas and headed by an Estonia e-residents has been involved in large-scale exit scams. Some of these firms are suspected to have organized Initial Coin Offering (ICO) scams in the past.
These acts by firms and Estonia e-residents has damaged the country’s digitization effort. It has brought a lot of distrust to the e-residency exercise and put a dent on Estonia’s international reputation.
According to the police, these activities cast a shadow over the digital aspirations of Estonia as the country is just coming out of a $220 billion money-laundering scandal.
Regulators revolts sanctions Estonia e-residents
Following the scam alert, crypto companies are bearing the brunt. The police said that a “considerable connection” with e-residents is raising the risk of reputational damage in the Estonian crypto sector.
They revealed that at least one-third of crypto firms have at least one Estonia e-resident as a related party. It lead Estonian regulators to revoke the license of over 500 crypto companies. The number of firms with crypto licenses in Estonia has been reduced to 353 from over 1,234 that existed last year.
While the scandal had already caused enough damage to Estonia’s digitization endeavors, the involvement of its e-residents in crypto scams is expected to worsen its reputation.
Local authorities, however, believe that tackling the issue can bring back sanity to the program.
About Estonia e-residency
The Estonia e-residency program began in 2014 to help the country reboot from 50 years of Soviet occupation. The program enables foreign citizens’ posses Estonian citizenship regardless of where they are. It also allows entrepreneurs to form companies in Estonia, bank, process payment, and pay taxes in Estonia.
Many well know individuals across the world are now Estonian citizens courtesy of the e-residency program.
Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Tim Draper, Guy Kawasaki, Ben Horowitz are some big names who became Estonian citizens through the e-residency program.