Spanish banks are ready to provide crypto assets to their consumers directly. Banks are making the necessary preparations to fulfill the future standards.
Following months of anticipation, the Bank of Spain has given instructions on how to register with the central bank in order to provide cryptocurrency-related services in the country.
Spain’s central bank originally announced the process in June, promising that guidelines on how to begin would be published in the coming time. Those instructions have now been delivered.
The Spanish central bank has issued new registration requirements for local VASPs, which include banking institutions.
For Anti-Money Laundering reasons, the Bank of Spain has issued VASP registration standards, requiring institutions to submit registration requests via a electronic registry.
The Spanish central bank issued the recommendations on October 19, noting that the necessity to register in the registry refers to “every individual and institution offering virtual currency exchange services,” such as cryptocurrency trading and holding.
Every individual and institution in the nation, including banks, will be required to register with the Bank of Spain’s new AML registry.
VASPs will be required to register “irrespective of if they are also registered in other administrative databases at the Bank of Spain or other connected authorities,” according to the regulator.
Institutions are requested to register using an electronic registration, following which the central bank will review the application for up to 3 months.
As per the public announcement, institutions are obligated to register even if their end clients are not in Spain. Individuals are also encouraged to utilize the electronic registry form, but they may also proceed through conventional channels such as mail, according to the central bank.
The guidelines clearly require both legal institutions and individuals to make reports on their efforts to avoid illegal actions like money laundering and terrorism funding, as well as to contain particular information about their clients.
As per the announcement, the Bank of Spain will assess data and evaluate potential risks while considering the types of clients served by VASPs, the nations in which they operate, products, business relationship objectives, operated quantities, and other aspects.
The Bank of Spain previously announced plans to develop AML processes for VASPs in June 2021, according to the local news source El Pas. Spanish lawmakers supported a parliamentary move in August to legalize the use of Bitcoin for mortgage and insurance reasons.
The Bank of Spain said in a statement-
“The responsibility to sign up in this registry applicable to all natural or legal individuals who are in any of the above instances and provide virtual currency exchange services for trustee currency and safekeeping of electronic wallets, irrespective of whether they are also registered in some other administrative records in the Bank of Spain or in some other competent authorities.”
Some banks want to or are currently running cryptocurrency businesses in other countries. BBVA, a large Spanish financial services corporation, has set up a commercial crypto-asset in Switzerland that provides exchange and custody services.
In addition, Caixabank, a Spanish bank, is launching a trial programme to provide custody services to businesses.
The European Union’s cryptocurrency regulatory framework, known as MICA (Markets In Crypto Assets), has yet to be finalized and is expected to be issued in early 2022. It intends to regulate member-state service providers and offer a unified licensing regime for all member states by 2024.