Thirty-three Estonian businesses and individuals have founded the Estonian Cryptocurrency Association, a non-profit organization. The association aims to further the field of cryptocurrency in Estonia.
Bitcoin cryptocurrency, or digital currency, is today used by 7 million people worldwide, and the number of users grows by about a million each quarter.
There are currently around 10,000 bitcoin users in Estonia, but the lack of official regulations for digital currency makes their use complicated. The newly founded association aims to take part in the process of drawing up legislation for cryptocurrencies in the fields of taxation and law to ease their use.
Member of the association's board Joonas Trussmann told ETV's "Aktuaalne Kaamera" that a number of businesses have recently left the Estonian market because it lacks shared understanding of how cryptocurrencies should be used.
One of the places where bitcoins are accepted as means of payment and which, therefore, hosted the associations's founding meeting on Wednesday, is the Sushi Cat restaurant in Tallinn.
The association also aims to promote and support the wider use of cryptocurrencies. One of the key goals is to gain VAT exemption for bitcoin transactions, including bitcoin-euro currency exchange.
Mihkel Nõmmela, the head of the payment and settlement systems department of the Bank of Estonia, welcomed the founding of the cryptocurrency assocation, which he hopes will help to raise public awareness of the cryptocurrencies.
Erki Koldits of the Estonian Cryptocurrency Association said they also hope to see an increasing number of businesses accept bitcoin payments. This number should be around 10 in a year and around 100 in two years. Finally, every grocery store should allow bitcoins, he said.
Nõmmela, however, said that bitcoins will face hard competition from card payments in the local retail sector, but they could offer a great alternative in international trade.