Spanish banks await Central Bank instructions to operate with Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies

Sat 23 Oct 2021 ▪ 11h05 ▪ 3 min read — by Rudy Bauer

Spanish banks are interested in providing cryptocurrency services directly to customers and are waiting for the Spanish Central Bank to provide regulatory clarity on the issue. In view of the new regulations, the Bank of Spain should prepare a list of crypto asset service providers and custodian organisations.

Cryptocurrency regulation in Spain

Last June, the Spanish legislature proposed amendments requiring operators of cryptocurrency services to register with the Bank of Spain. Under the new law, cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet operators and anyone holding customers’ private keys would be subject to regulation and registration. The transitional provision requires all these companies to register with the Spanish Central Bank within nine months of the law coming into force.

The country plans to bring its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws into compliance with the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5).

Financial institutions in confusion

The regulator had planned to provide guidance for the registration of cryptocurrency firms and trading platforms by 29th October, but that instructions have yet to emerge. Given the uncertainty surrounding the regulation of crypto assets, Spanish banks wishing to deal with cryptocurrencies are unsure whether they need to apply for registration, reports CincoDías.

Banks and financial institutions are confused as to whether they need to register with the register of cryptocurrency service operators if they are already supervised by the regulator. Therefore, due to a lack of clear guidelines from the Central Bank of Spain, local financial institutions have already sought clarification from regulators. In June, the Swiss branch of Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) already began providing private clients with BTC storage and trading services.

“It would not make sense for a bank to have to go through the requirements imposed, since these entities are already directly supervised. However, it does make sense for them to notify that they are going to provide this type of service and, probably, they will need to change their money laundering policy to adapt it to the dynamics of crypto assets,” commented Gloria Hernández Aler, a partner at regulatory advisory firm finReg360.

As you may recall, Spain’s central bank has previously labelled investments in cryptocurrencies as risky because of their high volatility, cybersecurity risks and lack of consumer protection. However, last year the central bank expressed its willingness to explore the possibility of launching its own digital currency. Experts will examine the different uses of a digital euro, its pros and cons, potential risks, and aspects related to digital user identification.

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Rudy Bauer avatar
Rudy Bauer

Photographe, Vidéaste, webdesigner et enfin rédacteur pour CoinTribune: l'image, le digital et la blockchain sont mon dada.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and should not be taken as investment advice. Do your own research before taking any investment decisions.

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