Spanish banks are preparing for the possibility of offering crypto assets directly to their customers. According to new regulations, the Bank of Spain must formulate a list of virtual asset service providers and custody companies. However, these institutions are still not sure if they must apply, because banks already comply with anti-money laundering directives derived from other laws.
Spanish Banks Jump to Comply With Crypto Laws
Spanish banks are interested in offering cryptocurrency services to their customers and will be making arrangements to comply with upcoming regulations. Spanish banks are already on track to register for the list of virtual asset service providers and custody organizations that must be compiled by the Bank of Spain before October 29.
The Bank of Spain announced it would release the paperwork and instructions for interested parties in the upcoming registry, but failed to do so. This has made banks uncertain whether they need to register again under applicable laws. Banks in Spain already comply with anti-money laundering laws, so for some experts, re-registering should be not necessary for banks to offer crypto services.
Gloria Hernández Aler, a partner of the regulatory advisory firm Finreg, stated:
It would not make sense for a bank to have to go through the requirements imposed by the standard. 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.
Banks Flirting With Crypto
Some banks that operate in Spain have already established plans to open crypto operations or are already operating with cryptocurrencies abroad. This is the case for BBVA, which has already established a commercial crypto asset in Switzerland that offers exchange and custody services. Caixabank, another Spanish bank, is starting a pilot program offering these services in partnership with Onyze, a company that offers a custody-as-a-service program for enterprises. However, this pilot will not be offered to customers for the foreseeable future.
The cryptocurrency regulatory framework for the European Union, called MICA (Markets In Crypto Assets), is still under development. Sources state that while it will be difficult for the framework to be ready this year, all signs point to a release in early 2022.
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