Crypto exchange Bitpanda secures regulatory approval in Spain

abdelaziz Fathi

The Bank of Spain approved crypto trading and investing firm Bitpanda to act officially as a recognized virtual asset service provider (VASP) in the country.

Bitpanda, which is a Vienna-based cryptocurrency platform available in six European countries, has been the 15th firm to receive this license. The approval allows it to operate in the country after having worked with the regulator to show it fulfills the requirements defined by law.

Founded in 2014, BitPanda is a retail broker for digital assets, including more than 30  cryptocurrencies . The company claims to have onboarded 2 million users and plans to expand into real-world assets to build out a pan-European offering, with the expansion already started in France, Spain and Turkey.

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.

“As recent market developments have shown, where you buy your digital assets matters and we are going to always be prioritizing the safety of our community, as we are working relentlessly to build the best and the safest investment platform in Europe and beyond,” Bitpanda co-founder and co-CEO Eric Demuth said.

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.

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