Bitstamp, one of the largest crypto platforms in Europe, has won regulatory approval from Spain’s financial regulators, allowing the exchange to continue serving local customers.
The Bank of Spain has registered the local unit of Bitstamp, which is also regulated in Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as a virtual currency platform. The approval allows the firm to offer virtual currency exchange services for fiat currency and electronic wallet custody services to Spanish users.
“Spain is a key territory in our global strategy to further advance virtual asset regulation and provider stability to retail investors and institutions,” the exchange said.
Bitstamp is the 46th crypto business to receive this license, following in the footsteps of other firms that have recently registered their business in Spain, as required by newly updated regulations on crypto assets. The list includes Binance, which received regulatory approval in July to act as a crypto service provider. Bitpanda, a crypto startup based in Austria, was also awarded nod to distribute its products and services to users in the country.
The new license comes as Madrid is seeking to police crypto activities through introducing a raft of new regulations, including tougher KYC rules for digital currency transactions. Spanish authorities want to prevent anonymity in cryptocurrency transactions thereby placing a ban on anonymous crypto accounts.
Spain, while it does not consider cryptocurrencies as a legal tender, has kept an open-minded approach when it comes to the existence of digital asset platforms in the country.
Spain has recently approved measures to modify its money laundering legislation in order to comply with the EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5). The Spanish parliament voted on the updated regulations in 2020, which allow the central bank to police the nation’s crypto providers.
Spain’s financial markets regulator, often abbreviated as CNMV, regularly issues warnings against crypto platforms and unlicensed brokers targeting investors in the country.
Current laws force crypto exchanges, wallet providers and crypto custodial service providers operating in Spain to register with a financial regulator and prove that they are meeting AML requirements if they want to continue their operations.
The penalties crypto companies will have to pay if they evade this registry are between €150,000 and €10,000,000, and it could also include sanctions to directives of these platforms.